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Allan Houser (haozous)10 Things You Should Know About Oklahoma’s State Artist Allan Houser :

Who IS Allan Houser?

Allan Capron Houser, also known as Haozous, was a Chiricahua Apache sculptor, painter, and book illustrator from Oklahoma. He died on August 22, 1994.[2] He was a renowned Native American painter and Modernist sculptor of the twentieth century.

Houser’s work can be found in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Oklahoma State Capitol Building, and many other major museum collections across North America, Europe, and Japan.[3] Houser’s Offering of the Sacred Pipe is also on display at the US Mission to the United Nations in New York City.

His father was a first cousin of the legendary Apache leader Geronimo:

Houser’s parents, Sam and Blossom Haozous, belonged to the Chiricahua Apache tribe and were held as prisoners of war for over 20 years.

According to AllanHouser.com, Houser’s father was with the small band of Warm Springs Chiricahuas when their leader, Geronimo, his first cousin, surrendered to the United States Army in Chihuahua, northern Mexico, in 1886.

In retaliation for the Warm Springs Bands’ refusal to leave their lands in New Mexico and relocate to an Arizona reservation, 1,200 Chiricahuas were transported by cattle-car train to Florida prisons.

Childhood life and school years:

Houser was born into the Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache tribe in 1914 to Sam and Blossom Haozous on the family farm close to Apache and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. After leading the tribe in combat, Geronimo would subsequently rely on Allan’s father, Sam Haozous, his grandnephew, to translate for him.

Twenty-year-old Haozous traveled from Oklahoma to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1934 to study at Dorothy Dunn’s Art Studio at the Santa Fe Indian School.

Working from personal memory, eschewing modeling or perspective techniques, and stylizing Native iconography were all encouraged by Dunn’s method. Haozous was one of Dunn’s best students for the latter, producing hundreds of drawings and canvases while he was in Santa Fe, but he felt that the program was too restrictive.

Early career:

Houser debuted as a professional artist in 1939, participating in the Golden Gate International Exposition and the 1939 New York World’s Fair. In Washington, D.C., he was given his first significant public commission to paint murals at the Main Interior Building. He spent 55 years with his wife, Santa Fe native Anna Maria Gallegos.

The US Department of Interior gave him another commission to create life-sized interior murals in 1940. Afterwards, Houser went back to Fort Sill to study under Swedish muralist Olle Nordmark, who inspired him to take up sculpture. That year, he carved his first wood pieces.

When World War II interrupted Houser’s life and career, he relocated his growing family to Los Angeles, where he found work in the city’s shipyards. Houser worked during the day and continued to paint and sculpt at night, making friends with students and faculty at the Pasadena Art Center.

Here, he first encountered the streamlined modernist sculptural statements of artists such as Jean Arp, Constantin Brâncuși, and the English sculptor Henry Moore. These three men, along with the English sculptor Barbara Hepworth, who was among the first to incorporate sculptural voids into the solid planes of her works, would have a significant impact on Houser.

Following World War II, Houser applied for a position at the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas. Haskell, a Native American boarding school, lost many graduates during the war and desired a sculptural memorial to commemorate them. Houser had been carving wood since 1940 but he had never sculpted in stone. In 1948, he completed the monumental work Comrade in Mourning in white Carrara marble after convincing the jury with his drawings and conviction.[5] It has become a defining work for both the artist and Native American art in general.


In 1949, Houser received a Guggenheim Fellowship in sculpture and painting, allowing him to work on his art while also supporting his growing family.[6]

From 1952 to 1962, Houser taught art at the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah, which was primarily a Navajo boarding school.[7] The Intermountain years allowed Houser to teach, raise a family, and concentrate on his painting. He created hundreds of paintings there, experimenting with watercolors, oils, and other mediums.

While at Intermountain, he also worked as a children’s book illustrator, creating drawings and paintings for seven titles, including an illustrated biography of his granduncle Geronimo. One of his notable students at the Intermountain Indian School was artist Robert.

During the early 1970s, Houser continued to teach at the Institute while also embarking on the rigorous production and exhibition cycle for which he became famous. As head of the sculpture department, he felt compelled to experiment with as many sculptural media as possible, as evidenced by his solo exhibition of stone, bronze, and welded steel sculptures at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona in 1970.

The following year, Houser exhibited paintings and sculpture at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, and in 1973, he received the Gold Medal in Sculpture at the Heard Museum.
Exhibitions, awards, and recognition continued. In 1975, he was commissioned to paint the official portrait of former United States Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. That same year, he had a solo exhibition at the Governor’s Gallery at the State Capitol in Santa Fe. After thirteen years at IAIA, Houser retired from full-time teaching to focus on sculpture.


Houser’s primary skill as a draftsman is evident in the massive amount of drawn work preserved in the Allan Houser Archive, which is housed at the Houser family compound and sculpture garden in southern Santa Fe County, New Mexico. With over 6,000 images left behind, one can trace the output and diverse subjects of an artist who began all of his creations, including paintings and sculptures, by putting hand to paper.


While Houser’s early career was defined by drawings and paintings, it was sculpture that propelled him to international prominence. Houser began with simple wood carvings in 1940 and created his first monumental work in stone in 1949, the iconic piece Comrades in Mourning at the Haskell Institute.

Collections: Allan Houser’s artwork is present in collections worldwide. Here is a chosen list.

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Albuquerque Museum
  • New Mexico’s Albuquerque International Sunport
  • Vancouver, Canada’s University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law
  • British Royal Collection, London, England Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming
  • Center France’s Georges Pompidou in Paris
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado’s Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
  • Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, in Hanover
  • Denver, Colorado’s Denver Art Museum
  • Indiana’s Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis
  • The Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Haskell Indian
  • Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas; and the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona
  • James A. Michener Art Museum, Pennsylvania’s Doylestown
  • Tokyo, Japan’s Japanese Royal Collection


Anna Gallegos Haozous (2008)

Phillip Haozous, sculptor and Allan Houser’s son (2008)
On August 22, 1994, Allan Houser died from colon cancer in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the age of eighty.

During the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, 19 monumental works of art were installed, and 69 works were retrospectively displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, from 2004 to 2005. The exhibition was the new museum’s first major show, and it drew over three million visitors.

His two sons, Philip and Bob Haozous, are successful sculptors, and his grandson, Sam Atakra Haozous, is an experimental photographer.

Houser was among those inducted into the National Native American Hall of Fame during its inaugural ceremony in 2018.

Houser’s figural group from 1990 was moved to the Oval Office when Joe Biden took office in 2021. The sculpture of a running horse and a Native male rider is now on one of the shelves in the president’s office and was previously displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian.


Exhibitions Allan Houser’s work is widely recognized in academia and institutions. His estate collaborates with museums, art galleries, and public spaces all over the world on ongoing exhibitions. Houser’s abstract and modernist works were shown at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey (2008), and his major works were on display at the Heard Museum and Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona in November 2009. In 2008, the Oklahoma History Center hosted a major exhibition titled “Unconquered: Allan Houser and the Legacy of One Apache Family,” which focused on three generations of the Haozous/Houser family.

Houser’s work was featured in Stretching the Canvas: Eight Decades of Native Painting (2019-21), an exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye center.


Allan Capron Houser, aka Haozous, was a Chiricahua Apache sculptor, painter, and book illustrator born in Oklahoma. He was a renowned Native American painter and Modernist sculptor of the twentieth century.
Houser’s work can be found in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., as well as numerous major museum collections across North America, Europe, and Japan. Houser’s Offering of the Sacred Pipe is also on display at the US Mission to the United Nations in New York City.

Among the most important artists of the 20th century was him.

On June 30, 1914, Allan Capron Haozous—later to be called Allan Houser—was born close to Apache.
According to the Oklahoma Arts Council, Houser rose to prominence during his turbulent life as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. In recognition of his contribution to the arts and the widespread and international praise his work has received, he was named an Oklahoma Cultural Ambassador.

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