Allan Houser 1914-1994
Allan Houser (Allan C. Haozous) is doubtlessly one of the best-known and influential 20th century Native American artists. He was born in Apache, Oklahoma, in 1914. His parents and his great-granduncle, who was none less than the famous Apache leader Geronimo, had been held prisoners of war at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, until 1913. In the early 1930s, Houser attended the Santa Fe Indian School where he studied under Dorothy Dunn. He made his debut as a professional artist in 1939 when his work was exhibited in San Francisco and at the World Fair in New York. In 1940, the Ministry of the Interior in Washington commissioned him to create a large mural, which was his first assignment in this type. The Norwegian muralist Olle Nordmark, who was Houser’s teacher at the Indian Art Center in Oklahoma, encouraged him to become a sculptor. In 1962 Houser became a teacher at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, where he was head of the department of sculpture from 1971 to 1975. In 1975 he stopped teaching in order to focus completely on his own sculptural art. Sculptures by Allan Houser are found in many renowned museums in America and Europe. He was awarded numerous prizes, including two Guggenheim Fellowships and the Palmes Académiques, which were bestowed on him by the French government in recognition of his outstanding role in the advancement of Native American art.