Gerald Nailor, Diné of the Navajo Nation Painter


+ Add Artist to My Preferences

Gerald Nailor (1917-1952) signatureDiné of the Navajo Nation artist Gerald Nailor (Toh Yah) is very collectible as his paintings are among the rarest of the Dorothy Dunn student's works. This is partly because of his early death (1917-1952) and rarity of his works. A heavier factor is that he was an extraordinary artist whose work was of the finest detail. He perfected the facile, decorative manner for which he was early noted.

"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. We hope this Navajo boy will keep to the proud Indian beauty, more and more, his eyes on the straight road. It must be hard in a world where garish lights beckon on all sides. He has humor as well as feeling for line." -Dunn 1968

"In 1937, Nailor shared a studio in Santa Fe with Allan Houser. His paintings were exhibited in the home of Mrs. Hall Adams from 1943 to 1952. At the time of his death, he was living with his family at Picuris Pueblo, NM. Tragically, Nailor was only 35 years old when [he] died from injuries received [to] help a woman whose husband was brutally beating her." -Snodgrass, 1968.

Recommended Reading: American Indian Painting of the Southwest and Plains Areas by Dorothy Dunn.

Relative Links: Santa Fe, Allan Houser, Picuris Pueblo, Diné of the Navajo NationDorothy DunnNative American Paintings