Jim Mirabel, the Pueblo Indian depicted in this picture, was Ufer's friend and the favorite model of both Ufer and the artist Wood Woolsey. Upon moving to Taos, New Mexico in 1914, Ufer began to paint directly from nature without any preliminary sketches or studies, seeking now to "put my full vitality and enthusiasm into the one and original painting." The artist's academic training remains evident in his strongly realized rendering of the figure and dashing paint application, which is combined with his personal response to the intense light and saturated color of his new surroundings. Ufer viewed his Native-American subjects as being at a cultural crossroad, and joined the Indians of New Mexico in their protests against the government, including strikes and other social actions, in order to help them achieve better living conditions. In 1928, Ufer noted: "The Indian has lost his race pride. He wants only to be an American. Our civilization has terrific power. We don't feel it, but that man out there in the mountains feels it, and he cannot cope with such pressure."


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