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Column: Honoring the late, great Fritz Scholder

"Fritz Scholder was a great colorist, but it was far more than a brilliant use of color that gave his work its emotional resonance. The power in his art comes partly from the telling details he included in his otherwise stark images: the pink ice-cream cone held by a Buffalo Dancer, the curve of a catís spine as it dozes on a nude model, and the awkward gait of a running, barking dog. He captured a joy of being alive in the forward movement of a loverís body and in laughing self-portraits, but he never forgot that life is haunted by death. Scholder reveled in breaking the rules, and by placing death squarely in the middle of everyday life, he broke the biggest taboo of all. He painted the shape of a dead bird lying on the studio floor, the skeletal teeth of an Indian sitting at a bar with a can of beer, and the despair and rage in his own screams.

Scholder, who died Feb. 10, often told interviewers about the sensuous feel of buttery paint while saying little about his ideas and emotions. But for the introduction to the monograph of his work (Fritz Scholder, Rizzoli International Publications, 1982), he wrote: 'With each painting one learns more about painting. The activity is a sensual and intellectual event. It gives one the opportunity to make oneís mark; to act as God and to defy death. It is a vain but positive gesture, stating that one is alive.'"

Get the Story:
Fritz Scholder: making his mark (The Santa Fe New Mexican 3/11)

Relevant Links:
Fritz Scholder -

Related Stories:
IAIA to celebrate legacy of maverick Fritz Scholder (3/10)
Editorial: Fritz Scholder 'painted the Indian real' (02/15)
Fritz Scholder, maverick Native artist, passes on (2/14)