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Untitled Painting of a Man Riding a Horse

C4017B-paint.jpg

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Charles Lee (1926-2003) Hush Ka Yel Ha Yah - Warrior Who Came Out
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Watercolor
  • Size:
    image: 11” x 17 ¾”;
    framed: 19” x 25”
  • Item # C4017B
  • Price: $950.00

Born in 1926, Diné (Navajo) artist Charles “Charlie” Lee, or Hush Ka Yel Ha Yah (Warrior Who Came Out), developed a fascination with horses. An attendee of the Santa Fe Indian School, Lee was highly influenced by Harrison Begay, another of the legendary Navajo painters.

In her book, Southwest Indian Painting: a Changing Art, Clara Lee Tanner says that Lee’s paintings “combined the reality of his life with his imagination…” Lee hit the height of his career around 1948. He also became a reverend so that he could minister to his own people on the Navajo Reservation.

Composed in the traditional two-dimensional style of The Studio of the Santa Fe Indian School, Lee painted this image of a young Navajo man riding a horse with another horse following behind. Painted while he was still attending the Indian School in 1946, this early work of Lee’s contains all the elements for which he became known.

Lee painted with precise detail the unique aspects of the traditional reservation Navajo of the mid-20th Century. The rider is sitting on a woven Navajo saddle blanket, and is wearing “kélchi”, or Navajo moccasins. His hair is pulled back in the bun or “Tsiiyéé.”  There is a silver concha belt around his waist.

Lee grew up helping his family with horses. It is obvious he was familiar with horses, as his animals seem to come alive in their two-dimensional world. The painting is signed on the left with his Navajo name-Yel Ha Yah and dated 1946.

Artist Signature - Charlie Lee (1926-2003) Hush Ka Yel Ha Yah (Warrior Who Came Out)The painting was originally obtained by the current owner’s mother who worked at the Indian School in the 1940s. She obtained it from Lee when he was at the school.  It was recently re-framed using archival materials and placed back in the hand-carved wood frame from the Indian School wood working shop.


Condition: This Untitled Painting of a Man Riding a Horse is in excellent condition.

Provenance: Obtained directly from the artist by the current owner’s mother, who worked at the Indian School in the 1940s.

Recommended Reading: Southwest Indian Painting by Clara Lee Tanner

Close up view of the rider and horse.

Charles Lee (1926-2003) Hush Ka Yel Ha Yah - Warrior Who Came Out
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Watercolor
  • Size:
    image: 11” x 17 ¾”;
    framed: 19” x 25”
  • Item # C4017B
  • Price: $950.00

C4017B-paint.jpgC4017B-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.