R. C. Gorman, well known Navajo artist whose works were popular in the 1970s and 1980s, died of pneumonia at age 74 in Albuquerque November 1. Gorman was the son of one of the World War II Navajo code talkers and was born on a reservation in Arizona. He started drawing at the early age of three. He served in the Navy during the Korea War before attending Northern Arizona University, where he studied art and literature. He later went to Mexico to study the murals of Rufino Tamayo and others.
Gorman was best known for his paintings and sculptures of Native American women. His popularity soared in the Seventies and Eighties. His works were sought by the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Andy Warhol. His artwork even appeared in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gorman did have his critics. Some thought his work to be repetitive. Yet others had a higher opinion of Gorman Of the popularity of his work there can be no doubt. Many praised him for the simplicity, clarity, grace of the lines in his paintings. The New York Times calleed him "the Picasso of American art." Despite this statement, I think it can be safely argued that Gorman was in a class all his own.