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Untitled Painting of a Navajo Woman with Horses [SOLD]

C4017A-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 # C4017A
  • SOLD

Close up view of the Colt.

“One Navajo artist whose paintings never fail to appeal in their quiet tone and delicacy of color is Charlie Lee. ‘Yel-Ha-Yah’ is his signature, and he has explained it as a shortening of Hush-Ka-Yel-Ha-Yah, meaning ‘warrior who came out,’ a name given him by his grandmother. And a more peaceful warrior never existed.

“Lee was born in western New Mexico on April 14, 1926, near Red Rock, Arizona.  He started school at the age of seven, attending at one time or another St. Michaels Catholic Indian School, Southern Ute Indian School, Red Rock Day School, Shiprock School, and Santa Fe Indian School in his senior year.

“When he was nine or ten years old, Charlie Lee often took care of his grandfather’s horses…(He) has often spoken lovingly and proudly in the same breath of the long line of palominos, pintos, buckskins, and a burro at the end, going to water.

“In his senior year at the Santa Fe Indian School, Lee took art under Geronima Montoya.  Upon his graduation in 1946, he returned to the Navajo Reservation.  Because he ‘did not feel at home at all,’ he returned to the school in Santa Fe and undertook more work.” Tanner 1973

This painting of a young Navajo girl with her horse and colt was painted while Lee was a student at the Indian School in Santa Fe. It features a traditionally clad Navajo girl leading a blue horse. Following behind is a brown and white colt who is chasing a butterfly. Even at an early age, Lee’s precise detail shows his talent. The young woman is adorned in traditional Navajo clothing. She has the traditional “kélchi”. Ké is Navajo for shoe and lchi means red, hence, “red shoes.”  Lee meticulously drew her jewelry which includes a necklace with jaclas and earrings.

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 is signed on the bottom with Lee’s Navajo name-“Yel Ha Yah,” and dated 1946. 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 Navajo Woman with Horses is in excellent condition.

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

Recommended Reading: Southwest Indian Painting by Clara Lee Tanner

Close up view of the 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 # C4017A
  • SOLD

C4017A-paint.jpgC4017A-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.