Titled "Slate #2" (1964) by Fritz ScholderBureau of Indian Affairs Museum Program
Fritz Scholder (1937-2005)
Although Fritz Scholder, enrolled Luiseño, did not call himself an Indian, his artwork has been heralded as among some of the finest in Native American art.
Titled "Indian with Blanket" (1967) by Fritz ScholderBureau of Indian Affairs Museum Program
Mr. Scholder was born in Breckenridge, Minnesota, and attended high school in Pierre, South Dakota, where he studied with well-known Native American painter Oscar Howe. His family moved to Sacramento in 1957 where he had the opportunity to further develop his style while studying with Wayne Thiebaud. Mr. Scholder started exhibiting his work regionally.
Titled "Three Navajos and a Dog" (1968) by Fritz ScholderBureau of Indian Affairs Museum Program
In 1961, Mr. Scholder received a scholarship to participate in the Rockefeller Foundation’s Southwest Indian Art Project at the University of Arizona, studying with noted Native artists Lloyd Kiva New and Charles Loloma. He received a Master of Fine Arts in 1964, and that year, he sold the first of several of his paintings to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Titled "Butterfly #10" (1967) by Fritz ScholderBureau of Indian Affairs Museum Program
Following graduation, Mr. Scholder taught painting and art history at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe. He resigned in 1969 to travel through Europe and Africa, then settled in Santa Fe and devoted all of his time to painting.
Titled "Butterfly #30" (1967-12-01) by Fritz ScholderBureau of Indian Affairs Museum Program
He also explored sculpture, lithography, etching, and other media, and expanded his subject matter to include a variety of animals, cultures, and places. He frequently worked in “series” of paintings, as with his butterfly series.
Titled "Super Pueblo #1" (1968) by Fritz ScholderBureau of Indian Affairs Museum Program
Mr. Scholder continued to travel around the world, drawing inspiration from people and places. His artwork has been exhibited in museums throughout the United States and internationally; he has been the recipient of numerous awards, honors, and the subject of documentaries; and he served as artist-in-residence and visiting artist in several universities.
Indian with Rattle (1969) by Fritz ScholderBureau of Indian Affairs Museum Program
With his use of color and imagery, drawing inspiration from the abstract expressionism, surrealism, and pop art movements, and inclusion of Indian themes, Mr. Scholder’s work inspired Native Americans from different backgrounds to embrace their heritage and explore creative possibilities.
Titled "Indian with Puppy" (Circa 1970) by Fritz ScholderBureau of Indian Affairs Museum Program
“… find out who you are and fully accept it. Fall in love with your life and live your life with finesse and manners. Be a role model for yourself, and many will be influenced.”
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)
“Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian.” National Museum of the American Indian. Last modified 2008. Accessed October 7, 2016. www.nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/scholder/biography.html
“Fritz Scholder | Official Website.” Last modified 2016. Accessed October 7, 2016. fritzscholder.com/index.php
“Fritz Scholder Profile – Academy of Achievement.” Academy of Achievement. Last modified February 14, 2005. Accessed October 7, 2016. www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/sch1pro-1