New Mexico Art Tells its History

Seated Navajo Woman

Seated Navajo Woman, 1978
R.C. Gorman (American, Navajo, 1937 - 2005)
cast bronze, 48 x 54 x 47 in., 750 lb. (121.9 x 137.2 x 119.4 cm, 340.2 kg)
Gift of Mel and Dicky Pfaelzer and Jack H. and Tybie Davis Satin, 1983

R. C. (Rudolph Carl) Gorman was born in Chinle, Arizona, growing up on the Navajo reservation near Canyon de Chelly. His family, like its ancestors, grazed sheep on the plains. He showed an early Interest in art, modeling animals and toys out of clay from the local swimming hole. Later he drew with charcoal on rocks. He was thrilled to discover pencils, papers, and books when he attended his first school, Chinle Public School, a one-room structure heated with a wood stove. In 1943, Gorman enrolled in a Catholic boarding school on the Navajo reservation. He graduated from Ganado Mission High School in 1950. After leaving the Navy in 1955, he enrolled again at Arizona State College, with a major in literature and a minor in art. He lived in San Francisco, traveled and studied in Mexico where he was influenced by the work of Diego Rivera, and in the late 1960s, moved to Taos where he set up his studio and gallery. Gorman was not offended at being called an "Indian artist." He wrote in his autobiography, I am what I am, and its obvious I'm not white, black, or Oriental. I am an Indian. I am an artist. I'm an Indian painting Indians, and if it worked out for me, then it's all well and good. 

Acknowledgements | About the Museum of Art | Privacy Policy | ©2010 New Mexico Museum of Art