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RARE Wood Carving by Navajo Folk Artist Charlie Willeto [SOLD]

C4045M-carving.jpg

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Charlie Willeto (1897-1964)
  • Category: Other Items
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: wood, paint
  • Size: 21-1/2” tall x 1-3/4” thick - with stand
  • Item # C4045M
  • SOLD

Charlie Willeto was a Navajo medicine man who turned folk artist near the end of his life. It was not until 1961, four years before his death, that he began carving the wood figurines for which he is now so famous. Willeto would take his carvings to Mauzy’s Trading Post near Nageezi and trade for provisions.

Willeto has been known as Alfred Willeto and Charlie Willeto. The latter is his name, but it is not uncommon for a Navajo to choose a second name when venturing to do something different than that of his profession, in this case, a medicine man turning to creating art. Perhaps the fact that his upraised arms carvings resemble representations of the Navajo supernatural Yei was foremost in his mind when he chose to carve under an assumed name rather than that of his medicine man name.

This figure represents a Navajo man with leggings, a concha belt around his waist and a necklace around his neck. The wood is painted a brick orange color and decorations applied in blue and white paint.  The face is painted white. A stand has been specifically made for this carving and is included.


Condition: This  RARE Wood Carving by Navajo Folk Artist Charlie Willeto is in original excellent condition.  The paint is still strong in color. It is provided with a customized metal stand.

Provenance: from the personal collection of Santa Fe collector and dealer, Marti Struever.  Of all the Willeto carvings that passed through Marti’s hands over decades, this is the one she chose for her own collection.

Recommended Reading: Collective Willeto: The Visionary Carvings of a Navajo Artist by Begay, Hopps, Kogan, and Chapelle

Close-up view of this carving.

Charlie Willeto (1897-1964)
  • Category: Other Items
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: wood, paint
  • Size: 21-1/2” tall x 1-3/4” thick - with stand
  • Item # C4045M
  • SOLD

C4045M-carving.jpgC4045M-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.