The legacy of Native American sculptor Allan Houser in Santa Fe, New Mexico

View from the Allan Houser Compound

View from the Allan Houser Compound

I recently spent a sunny day learning about famed Native American artist and sculptor Allan Houser. The best part of the experience was that I was privileged to tour his studio and foundry on the lands where he worked outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was first impressed by his work at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. And, having learned more about his style, continued to run into his pieces in surprising places such as the New Mexico State Capitol building and the Governor’s Mansion. Currently you’ll find an installation of his work in Denver, at the Botanical Gardens.

Many have seen the inspirational sculptures of Native American artist Allan Houser. Installations travel all over the United States and individual pieces can be found in the Smithsonian Institution, many prestigious museums and personal collections.

About Allan Houser
Born on June 30, 1914, Allan C. Haozous (Chiricahua Apache), was to become known as Allan Houser, one of the 20th Century’s most important artists. He was born of Apache parents in Oklahoma. His parents were held captive in retribution for their Bands’ refusal to leave their lands in New Mexico and relocate to a reservation in Arizona. After many years in captivity, his parents were released and settled in Oklahoma. He was born soon after.

Allan Houser studied art at the Santa Fe Indian School. He soon expanded his creativity both in painting and in sculpture. By 1939 his work was exhibited in San Francisco, Washington D. C., and Chicago. In the same year he received a commission to paint a mural in the Department of Interior building in  Washington, and its success led to a second mural commission there in 1940. Allan Houser had a long career of innovative works of art and of sharing his culture and knowledge through teaching.

He died in 1994. His legacy lives on through his family and Foundation. His wife continues to live in Santa Fe.

Visiting the Allan Houser Compound
Allan Houser SculptureWhether you know his work or not, the opportunity to visit his studio and sculpture gardens just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico will inspire you. At the Allan Houser Compound, you’ll be treated to an extensive collection ofDetail: Allan Houser Sculpture sculpture all with the backdrop of beautiful desert foliage and mountains. You’ll see what the artist saw as he worked.

The best way to see the Compound and gain appreciation for the art of Alan Houser and the inspirational person he was is to take a tour. The tours include a biographical summary of Allan’s career and discussions of specific works on display. Guests are requested to make reservations at least 2 days in advance and to allocate a minimum of 2 – 3 hours to view the Compound. A $25 per person fee is requested.

We took the tour and were impressed with the dedication and knowledge of the tour leader, a sculptor herself. She had worked in the Foundry which, we heard, was closing. On the property, we walked from sculpture to sculpture and learned about his inspiration from Native People, his ties to the land and the animals (very evident in the sculptured forms) and were invited into his studio.

Allan Houser's StudioThe studio, a lovely adobe structure, housed some of Allan Houser’s paintings and small sculptures. Of interest was the Kiva-shaped round tower. He never lived there as his wife preferred to avoid isolation and live in downtown Santa Fe.

We were treated to a tour of the Foundry (not always available) and marveled at the immense sculptures and the process by which they were assembled. The tour ended with a visit to the gift shop and gallery. There were some interesting pieces for sale and a knowledgeable staff to assist the visitor.Allan Houser Shop and Gallery at the Compound

Photos
Join us as we tour the Compound and enjoy our photos of Allan Houser’s inspirational works.

More Information
Allan Houser Biography
Allan Houser Compound
Allan Houser Gallery
Photo Gallery of Allan Houser Sculpture at the Santa Fe Convention Center

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