Untitled Painting of Two Deer and a Fawn [SOLD]

C4059-09-paint.jpg

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Gerald Nailor (1917-1952)
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: watercolor
  • Size:
    13-½ x 11-1/2” image;
    20-3/8” x 18-¼” framed
  • Item # C4059.09
  • SOLD

The painting is signed and dated 1941.  It includes an “Honoring the Legacy 1994” ribbon from the Museum of Northern ArizonaGerald Nailor Sr. (1917-1952) was an influential Navajo painter and printmaker who is best known for his serene and beautiful depictions of wildlife.  Dorothy Dunn’s 1968 book American Indian Painting of the Southwest and Plains Areas provides an excellent description of the artist’s style:  "Gerald Nailor was the suave stylist-decorator. His lovely patterns of horses, deer, and antelopes were smartly and proudly drawn with never a thought for natural appearance. Every detail of their design was accomplished with adroitness and polish. If one must use the term in connection with Indian art, his work was sophisticated.”

Nailor’s life and career were very short.  He lived to be just 35 years old. He was prolific, though, leaving behind a large body of work that is highly desirable today.  He was a printmaker, too, founding and operating a print shop called Tewa Enterprises with his Santa Fe Indian School classmate Harrison Begay.  Their goal was to make Native American artwork—their own and that of their contemporaries—available to a larger audience. They succeeded in increasing the visibility and availability of Native American paintings.  These Tewa prints remain available on the resale market at very low costs. Their original paintings have become quite collectible.

This untitled original painting is an excellent example of Nailor’s style: animals, depicted in profile in a peaceful and beautiful scene.  Here, we have two deer and a fawn enjoying a meal. They are crafted extraordinarily well, with simple, confident outlines. As is typical of Santa Fe Indian School students’ “studio style” paintings, the artist’s attention is focused towards his primary subjects, rather than his subjects’ surroundings.  Behind the deer, adding symmetry to the composition, is a plant that is serving as their meal. In the foreground, a few smaller plants add depth to the image. In the painting’s upper left corner, turned diagonally towards the animals, are three stylized guardian rainbows—a great reminder of the artist’s Navajo heritage. This simple, peaceful and beautiful image will delight collectors of Navajo paintings.

Gerald Nailor (1917-1952) signatureThe painting is signed and dated 1941.  It includes an “Honoring the Legacy 1994” ribbon from the Museum of Northern Arizona


Condition: the painting’s colors have faded and now appear quite soft

Provenance: From the large collection of a New Mexico resident who is downsizing

Reference: American Indian Painting of the Southwest and Plains Areas by Dorothy Dunn

Close up view of a section of this painting.

Gerald Nailor (1917-1952)
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: watercolor
  • Size:
    13-½ x 11-1/2” image;
    20-3/8” x 18-¼” framed
  • Item # C4059.09
  • SOLD

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