Ignatius Palmer, Apache Artist
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“Ignatius Palmer, a Mescalero Apache, was born about 1921. He was painting as early as 1939. . . but seems to have done most of his exhibiting between 1957 and 1962. At the Scottsdale show in the latter year he received a second award for . . . a painting executed in tempera.” Tanner, 1973
The famous Santa Fe architect, John Gaw Meem, designed a building in downtown Albuquerque for Maurice Maisel’s new trading post and asked Olive Rush to paint murals at the entrance. She suggested she select Indian artists to paint them. All selected were from The Studio of the Santa Fe Indian School. They were Awa Tsireh; Popovi Da and Pop Chalee painted northern Pueblo subjects; Ben Quintana, Ku-Pe-Ru, and Joe Herrera did Keres motifs; Wilson Dewey and Ignatius Palmer added some of the Apache patterns; and Ha-So De and Harrison Begay contributed Navajo ones. Palmer painted a Gan Dancer. The murals still exist on the building.
“Ignatius Palmer shows his paintings mainly in the tribal arts center near his home in the Mescalero Apache area. Large and impressive figures of Gan Dancers and other ceremonial personages appear in flat, outlined constructions in most of these. Palmer is one of the few Apache artists who have consistently combined painting with duties and distractions of reservation life.” Dunn, 1968
Ignatius Palmer (1922 - 1985) served in the U. S. Army Air Corps in World War II, after which he became a construction worker and painter. He provided illustrations for a Bent-Mescalero (NM) Elementary School, Apache stories for bilingual classes.