The sculpture and paintings of Allan Houser are, at the same time, both of the particular and the universal. His works and roots are strongly planted in his Chiracahua Apache background, but the final product is one which speaks to us all on a level which transcends a particular place and time–it is a timeless art.
Born near Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1914, Houser remembers as a child that he loved to draw stories told by his father, Sam Haozous, of battles waged, of hardships endured, of buffalo hunts, of powerful medicine men and their ceremonial dances. Songs, sung by his mother, Blossom, told him about a mother's love for her child or of her youth. The childhood stories and songs, combined with Houser's imagination and experiences, became the subject matter for his work. "Images of cliff working, and not just that, but other things–memories, stories I've heard, faces I've seen. You'd be surprised how much you can be thinking about while you're working."
An opportunity to continue art on a formal basis came in 1934-1938 when Houser studied painting with Dorothy Dunn at the Painting Studio of the Indian Pops in Santa Fe. It was here that Houser became a student along with Pablita Velarde, Pops Chalee, Oscar Howe, Andy Tsinajinnie, Harrison Begay, Quincy Tahoma, and Gerald Nailor. Houser recalls, "I was 20 when I went to Santa Fe, because I'd dropped out of school to help at home, so I was older than most starting. But by then I knew I wanted to be an artist, and I had some ideas about how to start. I was determined to do well." Within a few years, Houser won a prize as the best student for his paintings, but he longed to work in three dimensions.
From the introduction by Bruce Bernstein and Sandra D'Emilio