Andrew Van Tsihnahjinnie (1916 - 2000)
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Andrew Van Tsihnahjinnie (1916-2000) was one of the most versatile of all Southwestern Indian artists. He went through many moods, solidifying a style momentarily then turning to something new and utterly different. His subject matter stayed faithful to his heritage even as his style changed. He was chameleon-like in his ability to change and adapt. He is recognized as one of the finest of 20th Century Navajo artists.
Andy Tsihnahjinnie was born near Chinle, Arizona in 1916. He attended elementary school at the Indian School at Fort Apache, but ran away and returned back to the reservation. He then attended school in Santa Fe and became a student of Dorothy Dunn at the Santa Fe Indian School. He was an avid student and was known to have stayed in the studio painting until forced to return to the dormitory. Following his graduation, he went to work as an illustrator for the Indian Service.
Tsihnahjinnie's best work is his portrayal of Navajo life and ceremonies. He is known for his attention to detail in paintings. Over the period of his career, Tsihnahjinnie signed his name in several spellings. Other signatures we have seen are A. Tsinajinnie, Tsihnahjinnie and Tsinajinnie. We have used the spelling shown in Clara Lee Tanner’s book which is Tsihnahjinnie for consistency in our records.
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