We had the great pleasure of sharing a personal friendship with American master sculptor, ALLAN HOUSER, and represented his work for 20 years preceding his death in 1994.We actively seek sculptures for resale by this artist that were completed during this time period. Contact our gallery for information on the consignment of your Allan Houser sculpture. (505) 820-0008
Houser, an Apache Indian, was born in 1914 and was the first child born in freedom after his tribe was released from 27 years of captivity by the United States Government. His father, Sam Haozous, had surrendered with the Chiricahua Apache Chief Geronimo in 1886. He grew up listening to his father’s tales of growing up on the warpath and also heard him sing Geronimo’s medicine songs These experiences had a profound impact on Houser and later imbued his artwork with his unique Apache heritage.
An artist who is known throughout the world, Allan Houser’s work is part of such collections as those of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Dahlem Museum in Berlin, the Royal family of Great Britain, the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Allan Houser was the recipient of the Palmes d’ Academique of France as well as two Guggenheim Fellowships. President George H. Bush presented him with our nation’s most prestigious award to artists, the National Medal of Arts, in 1992.
(1914-1994) the legacy of a great man.
By Dianne Cauble
Allan Houser possessed deep admiration and respect for his Native American culture, as well as the dignity of all human life. He bequeathed an enduring sculptural legacy representing decades of commitment and devotion to his art. Houser's remarkable spirit resonates throughout the 5 acre retreat where pale afternoon light filters across the garden, softly reflecting from the massive bronze forms in tranquil repose along a gentle acequia flow. The powerful shapes remain a constant reminder of the tenacious strength of human existence. The artist embraced universal themes in both his figurative and abstract pieces. His own evolution was evident in his attempts to probe deeper and deeper, past the surface, to lay bare the ultimate soul of the sculpture. His death at the age of 80 signals the passing of the acclaimed patriarch of American Indian sculptors. "Houser was constantly experimenting and exploring new ideas," Glenn Green explains. "In this process, he mastered a variety of media, including stone, marble, limestone, alabaster; fabricated steel, plaster, and clay. A distinction of his work was the emotional element he was able to extract from such unyielding sources. And he clearly possessed a heightened awareness of his environment, sketching wherever he went"Transforming stone into a passionate expression of his native myths and experiences, Houser captured the strength and dignity of those whose spirits remained unbroken by centuries of hardship and neglect. This capacity to endure was an integral element in his work. And, in the process, he uncovered vital truths about his own existence.
Although Houser's work embraced contemporary forms, the true Apache essence remained. He deftly combined a variety of treatments, juxtaposing rough textures against smooth, sensual surfaces, intensifying the sculptures impact. He worked comfortably in scales ranging from small intimate pieces to massive bronzes such as one of his last creations, "May We Have Peace," an 11-foot bronze of an American Indian holding aloft a peace pipe. The work is temporarily installed at the residence of Vice President and Mrs. Al Gore in Washington, DC, and will eventually be placed at the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian.
While Houser's accomplishments brought him increased fame and wealth, he never completely adjusted to the notoriety involved in official visits with many heads of state and dignitaries throughout the world. He remained a man of simplicity, vision, and courage-- plainspoken and unaffected, preferring to work in the isolation of his Santa Fe studio, where the sounds of his blues harmonica drifted across the desert.
A member of the Chiricahua Apaches, Houser grew up in poverty on a small farm in Oklahoma. His father had been imprisoned for more than two decades after the Apaches' historic surrender to the US Government in 1886. Though his family faced a difficult struggle for survival, his parents, Sam and Blossom, instilled a strong sense of dignity and self-belief that equipped their son with the confidence to flourish.
As a student at the Santa Fe Indian School in 1936, he studied with Dorothy Dunn, whose ideas subsequently influenced the direction of Indian art in America. Some years later, he returned to the school to teach, powerfully impacting the lives of other young Native Americans.
In his free time, he sculpted images that projected a universal vision, instilled with a classic sense of balance and serenity that crossed all boundaries. He was particularly drawn to the massive feeling achieved through stone. Though he readily acknowledged the Indian themes prevalent in his works, he desired recognition not as an Indian artist, but as a contemporary American sculptor. During the latter part of his career, he continued to carve away the excesses, reducing sculpture to the barest of line and form, discovering greater freedom in abstracts.
"Houser was working primarily in stone when my wife, Sandy, saw his show at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. The simplicity of design and balance distinguished his work from the rest," reflects Glenn Green. 'At that time, he was still teaching at the Santa Fe Indian School. We invited him to show his work in our gallery, and arranged for him to devote all his energies to his sculpture. For the next 20 years we participated in the development of his extraordinary career.
"We traveled all over the world together, visiting museums and viewing the works of the masters and the very modern. He was fascinated with the way light played on objects. Wherever we went, he sketched his surroundings continually. Back in the studio, he experimented with techniques-applying different textures, then transferring that concept to other media.
"When Houser became ill, he intensified his work schedule - he felt that he still had so much to do. During this crucial time, Sandy and I felt it was important that he enjoy the recognition he had earned so fully. Toward that end, we arranged two significant events. In April 1994, we all went to Washington, DC, for the presentation of "May We Have Peace" to President Clinton at a meeting of the American Indian Congress. As one of the most important Indian elders, Houser made the presentation on behalf of all the tribes to the people of the United States. I think it was a very gratifying moment for him.
"Shortly thereafter, we became aware that the President wanted to give a piece of American art to the Emperor and Empress of Japan when they visited Washington. After determining that the Emperor was interested in wildlife, we suggested that Houser sculpt an American eagle. I think he felt it was quite an honor to be the first artist selected by the President to create a gift for a foreign head of state."
Houser was, of course, the recipient of many honors in his lifetime. In 1992 he received the National Medal of Arts from President Bush, the first Native American to be presented with this countries highest art award. In commemoration of his portrayal of the Native American, he was also given the American Indian Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award in 1989. And, shortly after his death, the National Museum of American Art honored him by adding a Houser stonework to its prestigious collection of American masterpieces. Along with his magnificent sculpture, his legacy is a lasting vision for future artists.
Today the Greens are considered to be specialists on works by Allan Houser and continue to exhibit his sculpture in their galleries in Santa Fe, Scottsdale, Arizona, their sculpture garden in Tesuque, New Mexico.
Focus/Santa Fe August-September 1995, used by permission