Drunken Indian in Car

Fritz Scholder, Luiseño / American, 1937 - 2005
Luiseño (Luiseno)
California culture

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1974

Acrylic on canvas

Overall: 30 3/16 × 40 3/16 in. (76.6 × 102 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Jane and Raphael Bernstein

P.986.77.6

Geography

Place Made: Sacramento, United States, North America

Period

20th century

Object Name

Painting

Research Area

Native American

Painting

Native American: California Culture

Not on view

Inscriptions

Signed, in purple acrylic, on canvas, lower center.: Scholder

Label

Fritz Scholder’s Drunken Indian in Car insists on portraying some of the "real, not red" Indians he encountered in everyday life, in opposition to the conventional, romanticized, and nostalgic portraits of 19th-century chiefs, or the tedious oral tradition of drunken Indians.

When I first came to Santa Fe, I vowed to myself that I would not paint Indians. Then I saw the numerous over romanticized paintings of the "noble savage" looking in the sunset and decided that someone should paint the Indian from a different context. . . . And I think that art is the vehicle for putting forth and fighting clichés, which we all fall into. . . . No one had dared paint the massacres. No one had dared paint an Indian with a beer can. With all these artists running around and doing Indians, it had always been mainly romantic views, which, of course, wasn’t Indian at all. They looked like Italians dressed up in feathers. —Fritz Scholder

From the 2019 exhibition Portrait of the Artist as an Indian / Portrait of the Indian as an Artist, guest curated by Rayna Green

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Challenging the flat and what he deemed disingenuous representations of Native Americans by other Indigenous artists, Fritz Scholder’s masterful use of color and composition pulls the viewer in for a deeper contemplation of his “Indian” subject. Scholder’s depictions disrupted the romanticized trope of the “noble savage” and grappled with topics such as alcoholism, addiction, violence, and the complexity of Native American lives.

As a leading painter and teacher at the Institute of American Indian Art, Scholder expanded possibilities for future generations of artists, and therefore, research on his painting is often focused on issues of representation. However, for Scholder, the subject was secondary to the color and composition within his painting. In speaking about color and composition, he once said, "One color by itself is pretty blah. I don’t care what color you take. It’s when you put the second color next to the first color that, then things start to happen, and you get vibrations, you get, when you get purple next to an orange, things are going to happen."

From the 2023 exhibition Kent Monkman: The Great Mystery, curated by Jami Powell, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs & Curator of Indigenous Art

Course History

NAS 8, Perspectives in Native American Studies, Vera Palmer, Fall 2012

NAS 8, Perspectives in Native American Studies, Vera Palmer, Spring 2012

WRIT 5, Expository Writing, William Nichols, Winter 2012

NAS 8, Perspectives in Native American Studies, Vera Palmer, Spring 2013

NAS 8, Perspectives in Native American Studies, Vera Palmer, Spring 2013

NAS 30.1, ARTH 17, Modern Native American Art History, Joyce Szabo, Summer 2013

NAS 16, 20th Century Native American History, Angela Parker, Winter 2014

NAS 8, Perspectives in Native American Studies, Vera Palmer, Spring 2014

NAS 8, Perspectives in Native American Studies, Vera Palmer, Spring 2014

NAS 8, Perspectives in Native American Studies, Vera Palmer, Fall 2014

NAS 8, Perspectives in Native American Studies, Vera Palmer, Fall 2014

SART 31/SART 72, Painting II/III, Colleen Randall, Spring 2022

Film Studies 42.23, Travelers and Tourists, Heidi Denzel, Spring 2023

College Course 21.01, What's In Your Shoebox? , Francine A'Ness and Mokhtar Bouba, Spring 2023

Native American and Indigenous Studies 21.01, Indigenous People Political Economies, Raymond Orr, Spring 2023

Native American and Indigenous Studies 30.26, Indigenous Geographies, Elan Pochedley, Spring 2023

Native American and Indigenous Studies 8.01, Perspectives in Native American Studies, Raymond Orr, Spring 2023

Philosophy 1.11, Art: True, Beautiful, Nasty, John Kulvicki, Summer 2023

English 62.05, Horrors of Survival: Modern American Literature, Jamie Godley, Summer 2023

First Year Student Enrichment Program – Cultures, Identities and Belongings, Mokhtar Bouba, Summer 2023

Writing 2.05, Why Write, Anyway?, Erkki Mackey, Fall 2023

College Course 26.01, What's In Your Toolbox?, Francine A'Ness and Mokhtar Bouba, Fall 2023

Writing 5.05, Image and Text, Becky Clark, Fall 2023

Writing 5.06, Image and Text, Becky Clark, Fall 2023

Exhibition History

A Space for Dialogue 31, Myth of the Noble Savage, Meghan Rice, Class of 2006, Special Projects Intern, Main Lobby, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 3-May 21, 2006.

Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, October 15, 2008-August 15, 2009.

Hopkins Center 25th Anniversary Exhibition: Artists-in-Residence at Dartmouth, Jaffe-Friede Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 12-May 22, 1988.

Images of the West: Selections from the Permanent Collection, MALS 190, Harrington Gallery Teaching Exhibition, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 15-August 28, 1994.

Kent Monkman: The Great Mystery, Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 8 - December 9, 2023.

Native American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, October 8, 2011-March 12, 2012.

Perspectives: Native American Art from the Hood Museum of Art's Collection, Perspective in Native Studies, NAS 8, Spring 2014, Vera Palmer, Teaching Exhibition, Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 24-June 16, 2014.

Portrait of the Artist as an Indian / Portrait of the Indian as an Artist, Harteveldt Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-February 23, 2020.

The Soaring Spirit: Contemporary Native American Arts, The Morris Museum, Morristown, New Jersey, September 13-November 29, 1987.

Publication History

Meghan Rice, A Space for Dialogue 31, Myth of the Noble Savage, Hanover, New Hampshire,: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2006, ill. p. 3.

Brian P. Kennedy and Emily Shubert Burke, Modern and Contemporary Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2009 p.67, no.43.

George P. Horse Capture, Sr., Joe D. Horse Capture, Joseph M. Sanchez, et al., Native American Art at Dartmouth: Hightlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2011, ill. p. 15 and p. 149, no. 53.

John R. Stomberg, The Hood Now: Art and Inquiry at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2019, p. 183, ill. plate no. 114.

Provenance

Tally Richards Gallery, Taos, New Mexico; sold to Jane and Raphael Bernstein, Ridgewood, New Jersey; given to present collection, 1986.

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