Fritz Scholder

Once a prominent and controversial figure best known for his “Indian” series of paintings, Fritz Scholder—who considered himself equal parts German, French, and Luiseno and was an enrolled member of the Californian tribe—subverted the traditional, romantic image of the American Indian in his work, instead portraying Native Americans through a realist lens. Scholder observed the contemporary realities of Native Americans in images such as Indian With Beer Can (1969), which addressed alcoholism in Indian country. “I have painted the Indian real, not red,” he wrote in 1972. A former student of Wayne Thiebaud and a one-time sitter for Andy Warhol, Scholder combined Pop Art with Abstract Expressionism, and, despite the fame that his “Indian” paintings brought, considered himself a colorist first and foremost, also producing sculpture, prints, and photography. “One color by itself isn't that interesting—it's the second color and a third color, and a dialogue starts and pretty soon you're swept up in it,” he once said.