Born in Apache, Oklahoma, Allan Houser became one of the Southwest’s most famous and financially successful twentieth-century sculptors, known for his abstract Native subjects. He enrolled in the Santa Fe Indian Art School at the age of 20. His talent was soon recognized, and in his first year he was named the school’s outstanding artist. He studied mural painting with Olaf Nordmark, and at the outset of his career he was known as a muralist and painter. Later, he would focus on carving and sculpting in stone, wood, steel, and bronze.
Houser worked in Santa Fe from 1936 to 1938. He also painted murals in Washington D.C. for the Department of the Interior. Houser received other official commissions as well, for example portraits of Stuart Udall, then Secretary of the Interior, and another of Apache Chief Geronimo for the Arizona State Capitol Building in Phoenix. From 1962 onward he lived in Santa Fe, where his work was sold into private and public collections all over the United States.