R.C. GORMAN was a master of three mediums - drawing, painting, and sculpting.
In his linear portrayal of the human figure, he has no peers. The whole body of his work is directed toward the Indian - Navajo women moving placidly among their chores.
Gorman was born on the Navajo reservation in Chinle, Arizona in 1931 into a family of artisans. In 1955 after his U.S. Army discharge, Gorman enrolled in Northern Arizona University. In 1958, he received the first scholarship ever given by the Navajo tribe for study outside the United States.
He attended Mexico City College for a brief time, and this exposure caused a change in the direction of his art.
He has exhibited in untold numbers of one-man shows throughout the United States and the world. In 1973, he was the only living artist to be included at the show "MASTERWORKS OF THE MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Gorman's work is in many permanent museum collections. A few include: The Museum of Indian Arts, San Fransisco, CA; The Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, AZ; Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, OK; U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, D.C.; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; and the New Mexico Museum of Fine Art.
His private celebrity collectors include Erma Bombeck, Former Senator Barry Goldwater, David Hartman, Martha Hyer, Lee Marvin, Gregory Peck, and Ruth Warwick.
R.C. Gorman died of pneumonia on Thursday, November 3, 2005 at 12:20 pm MST, after a lengthy illness. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico made the announcement at a news conference in Santa Fe. The Governor ordered flags in New Mexico to be flown at half-staff.
Gorman was legendary for his drawings, paintings and sculptures of colorful, blanketed, generously sized women. Gorman was quoted as stating, “I revere women…they are my greatest inspiration.”
New Mexico Cultural Affairs Secretary Stuart Ashman said that “Gorman will be remembered as one of the greatest Native American artists.”
A rosary was held on Sunday, November 6th and his funeral was on Monday, November 7th at 10am in Taos, New Mexico. He was buried in the cemetery on his property near his home in Taos.
Those of us who knew him, will always remember his humor, his personality and his beautiful artwork.