Allan Houser (1914-1994)

Allan Capron Haozous (later “Houser”) was a great grandnephew of the great Apache Chief, Geronimo. His parents had been prisoners of war and after their release, chose to stay in Oklahoma, where Allan was born. Mr. Houser attended the Santa Fe Indian School in New Mexico, and began exhibiting his work in museums even while a student.

In 1939, he received a commission to paint a mural in the Department of the Interior building in Washington, D.C., and received a second such commission the following year.

Mr. Houser moved to Los Angeles in 1942, and began associating with other artists in the area which launched his interest in modernist sculpture.

In 1948, he received a commission from the Haskell Institute (now Haskell Indian Nations University) and created his first major marble sculpture, Comrade in Mourning, to honor Haskell’s Native American students who died while serving in World War II.

While continuing to sculpt and paint, Mr. Houser taught art at the Inter-Mountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah, where he remained for eleven years.

In 1962, he became a member of the faculty of the new Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, and as the only sculptor, Mr. Houser set up IAIA’s sculpture department. He combined modernistic styles with his own themes, leading to a recognizable and influential style that he passed on to hundreds of students.

After his retirement from IAIA in 1975, Mr. Houser dedicated his time to his art and, until his death, he created almost one thousand stone, wood, and bronze sculptures, continuing to receive international acclaim.

His art stands in testimony to his influence and skill; his artwork can be found in the nation’s capital, state capitals, and museums around the world.

“What I’m trying to do, is to make the Indian image look more contemporary and beautiful.”

Credits: Story

Highlights from the BIA Museum Collection was developed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Museum Program, September 2016.

Shannon Stiles, Staff Curator
Annie Pardo, Museum Program Manager
(with assistance from the summer intern)


“Art of Allan Houser.” Last modified 2016. Accessed October 7, 2016.

Frank, Billie. “Allan Houser: legendary Native American artist.” Santa Fe Travelers. Last modified January 17, 2013. Accessed October 7, 2016.

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