ARTIST OF THE MONTH
In 1969, when most Western artists were depicting sentimental scenes of spear-brandishing braves atop piebald ponies, Fritz Scholder – who was one-quarter American Indian – was startling audiences with “Indian with Beer Can,” a simple painting of a man sitting at a bar with a can of Coors.
“At the time, it was a completely controversial portrayal of Native Americans,” art dealer Polly Larsen says of the painting, which is owned by Ralph Lauren. Larsen’s admiration for the artist compelled her to create Fritz Scholder and the New Indian Art Movement, opening March 15 at the Larsen Gallery in Scottsdale.
The show features more than 50 paintings by the Arizona artist that range in price from $1,000 to $100,000 and include famous works such as “Hollywood Indian” ($55,000) and “Insane Indian” ($65,000).
The Minnesota native studied at the University of Arizona and graduated with a master’s degree in fine art, later teaching abstract expressionism at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe from 1964-69. He found stardom in New York City as a friend of Andy Warhol, who immortalized Scholder in a portrait.
Scholder passed away in Scottsdale in 2005, leaving behind a formidable legacy. “He was probably the most well-known artist that lived [in the Valley],” Larsen says. “His work sold well in Europe and he is featured in a lot of art history books. He put Arizona on the map. A lot of people knew him, and he legitimized Arizona as a fertile ground for artists.” For more information, visit larsengallery.com.
|“American Portrait with One Eye” (left) and “Indian and Teepee”|