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Untitled Painting of Warriors on Horseback

C4056G-paint.jpg

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Quincy Tahoma (1917-1956) Water Edge - Near Water
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: opaque watercolor
  • Size:
    17” x 13-3/4” image;
    23-1/4” x 20-3/8” framed
  • Item # C4056G
  • Price: $3,900.00

Three of these Indians—pictured, gracefully and skillfully, in line with one another and headed directly towards the viewer—are holding rifles and wearing ammunition belts.  Behind them are two men on horseback carrying spears.  They appear to be either in conflict with each other or signaling away from the viewer, towards a long line of people that is visible in the painting’s lower left corner.

Quincy Tahoma (1917-1956) Water Edge - Near Water was a talented Navajo painter who was initially educated in the arts by Dorothy Dunn at the Santa Fe Indian School, where he learned to create simple, boldly-colored watercolor paintings that depicted Navajo life and religious rituals.  These artists’ subjects were usually pictured in profile and with little background or ground plane. These “flat-style” or “studio style” paintings were and still are popular with collectors of Native American Indian Paintings. Tahoma and the most talented of his fellow Indian School alumni—Allan Houser, Gerald Nailor, Pablita Velarde and Pop Chalee among them—found their own styles that were based upon but not limited by the constraints of the “studio style.”

Tahoma, a naturally gifted artist, evolved quickly as a painter.  His earlier works focused mostly on everyday Navajo life—the scenes he witnessed daily during his childhood. As he grew older, more technically adept, and more confident, he shifted his focus towards more complicated imagery: muscular Navajo warriors and hunters in action.  The skill with which he depicts these challenging images is matched by very few artists. Like many great creative minds, Tahoma was troubled by substance abuse issues.  He passed away in 1956, at just 39 years old. Fortunately for those who appreciate his works, he was very prolific and left behind a large body of work.

Tahoma excelled and truly found his own voice with images like the one seen in this untitled painting: intense, potentially violent images of hunters and warriors in motion. Here, we see five Indians on horseback. Three of these Indians—pictured, gracefully and skillfully, in line with one another and headed directly towards the viewer—are holding rifles and wearing ammunition belts.  Behind them are two men on horseback carrying spears. They appear to be either in conflict with each other or signaling away from the viewer, towards a long line of people that is visible in the painting’s lower left corner.  As is typical of Tahoma’s works, the men and their horses are presented in striking detail. They are muscular, primal, and full of energy.

This Quincy Tahoma painting, which is signed and dated 1941This painting, which is signed and dated 1941, displays an Indian School influence and singular creative identity simultaneously.  Tahoma’s bold watercolors and thin, precise outlines are defining traits of the “studio style.” His minimal background work and highly detailed regalia are also in keeping with the traditional style.  He strays from and transcends tradition, however, in his bold decision to depict his subjects not in profile but head-on. The perspective from which the artist’s subjects are pictured makes the viewers feel as if they’re right in the middle of the action, giving the painting an exciting sense of movement.  That Tahoma completed this at just 24 years old makes it even more impressive. It’s a particularly strong and unique work that is worthy of consideration from the most discerning collectors of Native American paintings.


Condition: this Untitled Painting of Warriors on Horseback is in excellent original condition

Provenance: from the collection of a New York resident

Recommended Reading: Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist by Havens and Badertscher.

Close up view of the main warriors.

Quincy Tahoma (1917-1956) Water Edge - Near Water
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: opaque watercolor
  • Size:
    17” x 13-3/4” image;
    23-1/4” x 20-3/8” framed
  • Item # C4056G
  • Price: $3,900.00

C4056G-paint.jpgC4056G-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.