Bicentennial Indian, 1975
Lithograph on paper
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art Collection
Gift of the Las Vegas Art Museum, 2021; Gift of Lorillard, 1976.
Created between 1967 and 1980, the paintings and prints in Fritz Scholder’s Indian series changed the art world’s understanding of what Native American art could be. Resisting the contemporary appetite for stylized figures immersed in traditional pastimes or mythologies, he depicted the incongruities that arose when a people tried to maintain old ways and simultaneously move into a modern, colonized world. “I want the Indian to know himself,” he wrote in 1973. “This is essential if he wishes to be free.” By the time the Lorillard Company commissioned him to make a print for their 1975 Kent Bicentennial Portfolio he had already produced at least one important set of Indian prints, the Indians Forever lithographs of 1970. The pairing of a Native American man with a U.S. flag recurs throughout the Indian series, from Mad Indian no. 3 (1970), to American Portrait with Flag (1979). The feathered object in the figure’s hand is traditionally used to fan herbal smoke in cleansing ceremonies. An enrolled member of the Luiseño Mission Tribe, Scholder made a revolutionary impact on a generation of Native American artists after he accepted a teaching position at New Mexico’s Institute of American Indians Arts in the 1960s. He died in 2005. (DKS)
This print depicts a seated Native American facing the viewer. He has long black hair with white ornaments on both sides of his head. He is wearing gold and white face paint on his cheeks and nose. There is a large U.S. flag on his lap. He is holding a long white and black feather in his left hand (written by Andrea Noonoo).