Apache Devil Dancer, circa 1943
Allan Houser American, 1914 - 1994
gouache on illustration board 11 11/16 x 9 5/8 in. (29.7 x 24.4 cm)
Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology, Department of Cultural Affairs.
© Chiinde LLC. 51375/13
Allan (Haozous) Houser grew up on a government farm near Apache, Oklahoma. He was greatly influenced by his parents, members of the Chiricahua Apache tribe, who spoke in their native tongue, sang and chanted traditional music, and recalled memories of Native American wars and struggles. In 1934, he studied under Dorothy Dunn at the Santa Fe Indian School, and a few years later, exhibited paintings at the 1939 World's Fair in New York.
Through the 1940s, Houser worked in construction as a pipe fitter's assistant, while sculpting and painting at night. He taught at the Institute of American Indian Arts, in Santa Fe, and later became head of the sculpture department. In 1968, he cast his first bronze works, and in 1975, retired from teaching to concentrate on his bronze, stone, and steel sculptures depicting Apache and Navajo figures and themes. Houser said, "I work not just for myself, but to honor the American Indian. I hope to draw attention to centuries-old values, especially concepts of living in harmony with nature that can benefit all people."