November 3, 2005

Navajo artist RC Gorman dies in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Reuters) - Famed Navajo artist
R.C. Gorman, sometimes referred to as the Native American
Picasso, died on Thursday at the age of 74, a spokesman at the
University of New Mexico Hospital said.

His agent, Virginia Dooley, said on the artist's gallery
Web site ( that for more than a
month he had battled "a virulent blood infection and pneumonia,
among other issues, and finally lost his battle."

Rudolph Carl Gorman was best known for his simple lines
outlining earthy Navajo women in Southwestern landscapes.

"I am not obsessed with large women or even skinny women,
but I do prefer to paint women. I'm attracted to them. And
large women, they fill up the paper more," he said in a 1990
interview with Radiance magazine.

Gorman was born in Chinle, Arizona, on the Navajo
Reservation in 1931. His father, Carl Nelson Gorman, was a
sculptor and painter and a Navajo Code Talker during World War
Two who helped send secret messages through codes based on
American Indian languages.

Gorman went to Mexico in the late 1950s, where he was
deeply influenced by Mexican artists Diego Rivera, David
Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo, among others.

He lived in Taos in northern New Mexico, but was being
treated in Albuquerque at the time of his death.

Gorman had more than 20 one-man shows and had his work
exhibited in the show "Masterworks from the Museum of the
American Indian" held at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art,
where he was the only living artist represented.

"He made some new paths for Native artists and inspired
Native students to become artists because he was so
successful," said Della Warrior, president of the Institute of
American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

"We're very saddened by the loss of such a great artist."

"He both created a market and an image and was an icon in
his own right," said Robert Rogal, owner of the
in Long Island City, New York, which owns a portrait of Gorman
by Andy Warhol.