R.C. Gorman

"The Picasso of American Indian Art"

Who is R.C. Gorman ?

'Self-Portrait', 1973, lithograph by RC Gorman

"Self-Portrait", 1973, Lithograph

Childhood in Chinle (and surrounding areas)

R.C. was born Rudolf Carl Gorman on July 26, 1931. He was born to Carl Nelson Gorman and Adele Brown in Chinle, Arizona (Chin-lee) - a small town near the mouth of Canyon de Chelly (Kan-yone dī shay). He went by "Rudy" back then, and some of his early works from those years is signed "Rudy Gorman". By the time I knew him, he was "R.C." but my grandfather still often called him Rudy.

 

Canyon de Chelly was once home to the Anasazi, and ancient pueblo people who flourished as far back at the 12th century b.c.e.. The created complex dwellings, baskets, weavings, and rock art. The people are gone now, but evidence of their presence there still remains. Many of his works reflect the scenes of Chinle and Canyon de Chelly. From the tall rain stained walls of the canyon, to the flowers and fauna of the lush valley, you see the beauty of Dineh Tah (more modernly spelled "Diné Tah" or Navajo Land).

 

His grandmother on his mother's side used to come visit them by donkey. She would bring prickly pear, wild bananas and fresh mutton. She would sit with Rudy and show him the stars. She only spoke Navajo and would point out each star and tell him the name for each of them. She would teach him about the plants and herbs growing all around.

In 1964 the Tsaile (Ts-Ay-lee) dam was built, cutting off much of the run off from the Chuska (Choo'sskah) Mountains flowing through the Canyon and reaching Chinle, but during R.C.'s childhood Chinle was lush and green. A small population of several hundred Navajo was supported by farming. Ruby Throated Hummingbirds would zoom about, feeding on the small wild flowers.

Rudy had a creative spirit from an early age. He would play in the muddy waters near the opening to Canyon de Chelly. He would form figures from the clay and mud and draw with charcoal on the sandstone walls of the canyon.

"One place there, he drew a naked woman. And his aunt scold him: 'you shouldn't do that. That's not right'.

And the teacher spank him, because he was drawing women like that, in school. And the teacher told the mother too, and

he got a spanking from her. ...For drawing women! He still draws the women, but no body spanks him now."

- R.C.'s Father, Carl Gorman, in a 1987 interview for Navajo Artist: R.C. Gorman

"Chinle Ruby Throated Hummingbird", 1992, Lithograph

"Chuska Storm", 1997, Lithograph

Part of the Anniversary Suite

For a while, he attended Saint Michael's Catholic School near Window Rock, Arizona. I also attended school there from 1995 - 1998, though my experiences were much better than those of my uncle's.

 

He recalls this time briefly in his book The Radiance Of My People:

 

"that was the only time in my life I remember being

constantly hungry...when the nuns were looking the other way,

I'd mash up some prunes with a fork, spread the mixture

between two pieces of bread, and stick it in my shirt

to eat later during chapel."

 

In the fall of 1944 his father, Carl, was still fighting in the Pacific with the Second Marine Division as a Navajo Code Talker. One of Rudy's aunts helped him to enroll into the Ganado Presbyterian Mission School.

 

Unlike the policies at Saint Michael's, the teachers at the Presbyterian school encouraged the children to speak Navajo. Rudy's Navajo had become rusty over the years at Catholic school, but the masses at his new school were bi-lingual. In fact, many of the hymns they sang had originally been translated into Navajo by his paternal grandmother, Alice P. Gorman. To this day, many churches across the reservation use those translations.

Rudy delighted in his new school. He worked his summers in a multitude of jobs to pay his tuition. He was encouraged by his teachers to explore his creative side. Several even purchased his early work, and he never forgot their early support.

'Rudy' becomes 'R.C.'

 

Rudy graduated Ganado Mission High School in 1950. He had early thoughts of becoming a pilot or a merchant sailor. I think he wanted to travel.

 

He joined the U.S. Navy in 1951 at the age of 19. As you may know, in the military, you go by your last name. If there is an occasion to identify you further, you might get your initials back. Gone was "Rudy" and so was born "Gorman, R.C.".
 

R.C.'s time in the Navy had him stationed at the San Diego Naval Air Station then stationed in Guam as an airman and finally aboard the U.S.S. Oriskany (CV-34) for readiness training along the California coast. It was R.C.'s first time traveling to another country. He became enamored with the people, food and this new experience.

During this time, R.C. couldn't help but continue exploring his creative side. The pin-ups of Alberto Vargas and George Petty were extremely popular. R.C. capitalized on this and would draw up your girl back home as a pin-up. He charge the officers $7 and the enlisted $2. I haven't had one of these cross my path yet, but if you ever find one, let me know.

R.C.'s Father, Carl, recalls R.C. drawing from an early age.

R.C. was my uncle. By the time I had come around, he had been dubbed: "the Picasso of American Indian Art" by the New York Times, he had two successful galleries, one in Taos and the other in Old Town Albuquerque, his work adorned the walls of dozens - if not hundreds - of galleries from San Fransisco, Philadelphia, and New York to Paris, Berlin, and London as well as countless homes around the world.  I knew him as "Uncle R.C.". He was 52 when I was born and 74 when he passed. I knew him for 21 years.

I have many fond memories of my uncle and the times I would come visit him with my family. He had already put on a bit of a belly by the time I knew him, his knee gave him some trouble sometimes, but he was always quick to rise to come give his father and step-mother a hug.

Visiting R.C. meant we would be eating out, a real treat as the town I grew up in, Fort Defiance, didn't have much in the way of places where we could eat-out, moreover, our family budget wouldn't allow for it.

IMG_3550.JPG
 

Lithographs & Serigraphs

Lithography is not my medium, so my knowledge of the complete process is limited. I have made every attempt to be as accurate as possible in my statements, and have omitted anything I was not able to verify.

Lithography is the process of printing from stone. "Lithos" - Greek "stone" and "Graphein" - Greek "to write". The process was invented in 1796.

Below is a list of R.C.'s Lithographs and Serigraphs. This list is in the process of being updated and is incomplete. My records give a count of about 70 Serigraphs and 450-500 lithographs produced by R.C. over his 5 decade career. I hope to have this completed soon, but it is a process of cross checking information over several sources. The information provided is meant to give the general public enough information to identify a piece. The Retail Range is based on several sources including but not limited to a 2009-2016 (the exact date of publication and last update aren't known) suggested retail price list published by Western Graphics, Inc and prices for the artworks from the Navajo Gallery website in 2019 as well as sale records.

 

In determining the value of an art piece, there are many factors that will come into play such as Condition, Availability, Provenance, and Aesthetic just to name a few. With that in-mind, this list should be taken as informational only, and not treated as a guide to appraisal. THE MICHAEL GORMAN GALLERY DOES NOT OFFER APPRAISALS OR AUTHENTICATIONS of artwork as a service at this time. If you need an appraisal for insurance or resale purposes, contact an art appraiser in your area who has experience with RC Gorman, Native American Contemporary Art, or Southwestern Art. They may also be able to authenticate the work.

By the same token, I have not known Taos without R.C. When he died in 2005, I did not return to Taos until 2013. Now, living here under the Taos Mountain and I am reminded everyday of his presence. His friends, his fans, and his fellow artists come up to me and share their memories of him.

R.C.'s voice is in my head too. Not as a father figure, and neither as a teacher. No, instead I remember his laugh: a loud, high, and lyrical "Haaaa! Oh dear..."

In my more recent years, I have started to become a student of his work. Not so much to look at the art and say "This is this one of his works from 1991" or "He did this while in Houston", or "So-and-so modeled for this piece", although much of that has come with studying his work, but rather I'm searching for those things which might connect us, those thoughts that we might share, agree on or disagree on. R.C. was a very intelligent man - thoughtful and insightful. He was also an elder. He grew up in a different time than I. He watched as the outside world moved more and more into the day-to-day life of the reservation. He explored the world as a Navajo, visiting those places that sent ships and people to America. He consumed the food of the world and loved them.

He also watched as Taos changed. As national stores, restaurants and amenities have come to town, bringing progress. R.C. was very direct, but you had to be listening. He would tell you things, but it wasn't always easy to hear. A conversation with R.C. might take some time to digest. Maybe that's why he always liked to talk over dinner.

Title
Image
Medium/Technique
Year
Dimensions Inches (hxw)
Retail Range
Available through the gallery
Abiquiu Rainstorm
Lithograph
1985
25.5 x 35
$ 3200 - $ 5900
Acoma
Lithograph
1983
29.5 x 38.25
$ 2400 - $ 5000
Acoma Maiden
Lithograph
1989
24 x 19
$ 1860 - $ 6000
Acomita*
Lithograph
1997
9.5 x 13.5
$ 4000 - $ 6000
Adelle Rose
Lithograph
Unknown
Unknown
UnDet - $ 3900
Aletha
Lithograph
1985
26.25 x 36.25
$ 2000 - $ 5000
Alma
Lithograph
1984
36 x 29
$ 2000 - $ 3900
Amelia
Lithograph
1981
30 x 22
$ 3000 - $ 4500
Anabah, St I (red dress)
Lithograph
1979
22 x 30
$ 2900 - $ 4500
Anabah, St II (white)
Lithograph
1979
22 x 30
$ 2900 - $ 4500
Anasazi Jar
Lithograph
1988
26.5 x 35
$ 4400 - $ 4500
Angela's Baby
Serigraph
Unknown
Unknown
UnDet - $ 4600
Angelina (color)
Lithograph
1974
30 x 22
$ 4000 - $ 3900
Angelina (white)
Lithograph
1974
30 x 22
UnDet - $ 3900
Anita, St I
Lithograph
1997
26 x 21
$ 3000 - $ 6500
Anita, St II
Lithograph
1997
26 x 21
$ 2000 - $ 5500
Anna
Lithograph
Unknown
Unknown
UnDet - $ 3900
Arabesque
Lithograph
1976
30 x 22
$ 6900 - $ 5500
Atole
Lithograph
1990
36 x 29.5
$ 2500 - $ 3900
Aurora
Lithograph
1989
29.5 x 38.5
$ 3500 - $ 5500
Barcelona Rose
Lithograph
1982
22 x 37.5
$ 3000 - $ 4000
Barefoot Lady
Lithograph
1978
12 x 15
$ 2000 - $ 6000
Bayetta, St I
Serigraph
1981
31 x 24
$ 1500 - $ 4200
Bayetta, St I
Lithograph
1981
31 x 24
$ 1500 - UnDet
Bayetta, St II
Serigraph
1981
31 x 24
$ 1500 - $ 3900
Bayetta, St II
Lithograph
1981
31 x 24
$ 1500 - UnDet
Bead Maker
Lithograph
1987
25.5 x 34
$ 6500 - $ 6900
Beauty Way
Lithograph
1990
37 x 31
$ 2000 - $ 3900
Benally
Lithograph
1988
19 x 29.5
$ 5000 - $ 6500
Benita, St I
Lithograph
1981
22 x 30
$ 2000 - $ 5000
Benita, St II
Lithograph
1981
22 x 30
$ 2000 - $ 3900
Bisbee
Lithograph
1988
30 x 39.5
$ 3000 - $ 4500
Blessing Way
Lithograph
1997
24.5 x 41
$ 4300 - $ 5500
Blue Corn
Lithograph
1985
37 x 25.5
$ 6500 - $ 6900
Blue Door
Lithograph
1989
28 x 37
$ 3200 - $ 5500
Blue Gem*
Lithograph
1999
30 x 24
$ 3000 - $ 5000
Born of Water 1975
Lithograph
Unknown
Unknown
UnDet - $ 5500
Born of Water 1980
Lithograph
1980
30 x 22
$ 2200 - $ 4500
Bosque Redondo
Lithograph
1984
26 x 36
$ 2700 - $ 5000
Breadmaker
Lithograph
1988
29.5 x 37.25
$ 3250 - $ 4500
https://www.michaelgormangallery.com/product-page/breadmaker-1988-signed-lithograph-by-r-c-gorman
Cactus Flower
Lithograph
1989
29.5 x 37
$ 4000 - $ 3900
Canyon De Chelly (Night)
Lithograph
1979
22 x 32
$ 4500 - UnDet
Canyon Harvest
Serigraph
1984
38.5 x 58.5
$ 6000 - $ 9500
Canyon Woman
Lithograph
1989
Unknown
$ 4300 - $ 6000
Canyon de Chelly (Day)
Lithograph
1979
22 x 32
$ 4500 - $ 8500
Canyon de Chelly (Day) Edition de Luxe
Lithograph
1979
22 x 32
$ 4500 - $ 8500
Canyon de Chelly (Night) Edition de Luxe
Lithograph
1979
22 x 32
$ 4500 - $ 8500
Canyon de Chelly Twilight
Lithograph
1988
30 x 40
$ 3300 - $ 7900
Carmen and Child
Lithograph
1988
27 x 36
$ 3850 - $ 6000
Carol's Blanket, St I
Serigraph
1984
34 x 47
$ 6500 - $ 12000
Carol's Blanket, St II
Serigraph
1984
34 x 47
$ 6500 - $ 7500
Carolina, St I
Serigraph
1986
38 x 26
$ 1800 - $ 3900
Carolina, St II
Serigraph
1986
38 x 26
$ 1800 - $ 3900
Cassandra
Lithograph
2003
23 x 31
$ 4650 - $ 6000
Catalina de Mora
Lithograph
1989
37 x 29.5
$ 4600 - $ 6000
Celestina
Lithograph
1993
22 x 30
$ 3000 - $ 3900
Ceremony
Lithograph
1992
25 x 32
$ 1220 - $ 3900
Cerrillos
Lithograph
1998
30 x 24
$ 2000 - $ 5000
Chama
Lithograph
1982
21.25 x 27
$ 2000 - $ 3900
Chamisa
Lithograph
1992
27 x 36
$ 1640 - $ 4500
Chela, St I
Lithograph
1980
22 x 28
$ 1800 - $ 6000
Chela, St II
Lithograph
1980
22 x 28
$ 3600 - $ 6000
Chief's Blanket, St I
Lithograph
1980
20 x 16
$ 3000 - $ 4500
Chief's Blanket, St II
Lithograph
1980
20 x 16
$ 3000 - $ 4500
Chili Peppers
Lithograph
1987
27.5 x 35.25
$ 8700 - $ 12000
Chili Picker
Lithograph
1991
31.5 x 42
$ 4200 - $ 6000
Chimayo Chiles
Lithograph
1992
27 x 36
$ 3000 - $ 4900
Chimayo Day
Lithograph
1982
22 x 30.25
$ 3400 - $ 4500
Chimayo Night
Lithograph
1982
22 x 30.25
$ 3400 - $ 4500
Chinle
Lithograph
1982
26.5 x 36
$ 3500 - $ 4200
Chinle Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Lithograph
1992
11 x 14
$ 3200 - $ 14000
Chitsa, St I
Lithograph
1980
20 x 24
$ 3200 - $ 9000
Chitsa, St II
Lithograph
1980
20 x 24
$ 3200 - $ 9000
Chitsa, St III
Lithograph
1980
20 x 24
$ 7200 - $ 9000
Cholena, St I
Lithograph
1980
17 x 16
$ 1900 - $ 4500
Cholena, St II
Lithograph
1980
17 x 16
$ 1900 - $ 4500
Cholena, St III
Lithograph
1980
17 x 16
$ 1900 - $ 4500
Chuska Storm*
Lithograph
1997
9.5 x 13.5
$ 4000 - $ 5500
https://www.michaelgormangallery.com/product-page/chuska-storm-1997-signed-lithograph-by-r-c-gorman
Chuska Woman
Lithograph
1984
25 x 33.5
$ 2400 - $ 4200
Cocheta, St I
Serigraph
1979
28.5 x 40
$ 2000 - $ 5200
Cocheta, St II
Serigraph
1979
28.5 x 40
$ 2000 - $ 3900
Cochiti
Lithograph
1985
25.5 x 34
$ 5500 - $ 7500
Colorado
Lithograph
1992
22.5 x 30
$ 4300 - $ 6500
Concha
Lithograph
1987
25 x 35.25
$ 6000 - $ 7200
Concho
Lithograph
1979
Unknown
$ 2100 - $ 5000
Contemplation
Lithograph
1971
30 x 22
$ 2200 - $ 3900
Contemplation
Lithograph
1975
Unknown
$ 4200 - $ 6500
Corn Lady
Lithograph
1974
15 x 11
$ 3000 - $ 5000
Corn Mother
Lithograph
1971
30 x 22
$ 8700 - $ 9900
Corn Woman
Lithograph
1985
26 x 36
$ 3500 - $ 4500
Crescent Moon
Lithograph
1987
Unknown
$ 3950 - $ 6000
Crystal
Lithograph
1997
24 x 32
$ 3950 - $ 5500
Damita, St I
Serigraph
1979
27.5 x 40
$ 2200 - $ 5000
Damita, St II
Serigraph
1979
27.5 x 40
$ 2200 - $ 3900
Daydreamer
Serigraph
1983
27 x 36
$ 1800 - $ 3900
De La Noche
Serigraph
1991
Unknown
Undetermined
https://www.michaelgormangallery.com/product-page/de-la-noche-1991-signed-serigraph-by-r-c-gorman
Doreen, St I
Serigraph
1983
26.25 x 33.25
$ 1800 - $ 3900
Doreen, St II
Serigraph
1983
26.25 x 33.25
$ 1800 - $ 3900
Dusk
Serigraph
1990
19 x 25
$ 2900 - $ 6000
Escalera
Lithograph
1988
41 x 29.75
$ 3000 - $ 5500
https://www.michaelgormangallery.com/product-page/escelara-rc-gorman
Esta, St I
Serigraph
1981
36.25 x 28
$ 2600 - $ 5500
Esta, St II
Serigraph
1981
36.25 x 28
$ 2600 - $ 4500
Evelyn
Serigraph
1988
Unknown
$ 2700 - $ 4500
Evie, St I
Serigraph
1979
22 x 30
$ 2500 - $ 4000
Evie, St II
Serigraph
1979
19 x 25.5
$ 2500 - $ 4000
Ginny
Serigraph
1990
19 x 25
$ 3000 - $ 5200
Gossips
Serigraph
1977
27.75 x 19.75
$ 2700 - $ 9000
Grace
Serigraph
1979
32 x 23.625
$ 2500 - $ 3900
Janis, St I
Serigraph
1984
31.5 x 38
$ 3000 - $ 3900
https://www.michaelgormangallery.com/product-page/janis-state-i-1984-by-r-c-gorman
Janis, St II
Serigraph
1984
31.5 x 38
$ 4300 - $ 3900
Jessica
Serigraph
1988
19 x 25.5
$ 1800 - $ 5500
Jubilee
Lithograph
2000
25.5 x 32
$ 2500 - $ 5000
https://www.michaelgormangallery.com/product-page/jubilee-2000-by-r-c-gorman
Kay-Bah
Serigraph
1991
Unknown
$ 2600 - $ 5500
Kirsten
Serigraph
1989
Unknown
$ 1700 - $ 3900
Klah
Lithograph
1976
22 x 30
$ 4700 - $ 6000
https://www.michaelgormangallery.com/product-page/klah-1976-by-r-c-gorman
Madrid
Lithograph
1997
9.5 x 13.5
$ 4000 - $ 5500
Marie, St I
Serigraph
1985
32 x 37.5
$ 1600 - $ 3900
Marie, St II
Serigraph
1985
32 x 37.5
$ 1600 - $ 3900
Mimbres Woman
Lithograph
1989
36 x 29.5
$ 1640 - UnDet
Mothers-in-Law
Serigraph
1977
22 x 31
$ 2000 - $ 3900
Myra
Serigraph
1991
25 x 19
$ 2200 - $ 4200
Navajo Dancer, St I
Serigraph
1979
30 x 22
$ 2500 - $ 4000
Navajo Dancer, St II
Serigraph
1979
30 x 22
$ 2500 - $ 4000
Navajo Manta
Serigraph
1977
22 x 17
$ 1200 - $ 3900
Navajo Mother and Child
Serigraph
1979
38 x 28
$ 2900 - $ 5500
Navajo Summer
Serigraph
1977
16 x 22.75
$ 1500 - $ 4500
Nicole
Serigraph
1990
19 x 25
$ 1500 - $ 3900
Night, St I
Serigraph
Unknown
22 x 20
UnDet - $ 4800
Night, St II
Serigraph
Unknown
22 x 20
UnDet - $ 3900
Pajeha, St I
Serigraph
1980
22 x 30
$ 2000 - $ 4500
Pajeha, St II
Serigraph
1980
22 x 30
$ 2000 - $ 4500
Pottery Keeper, St I
Lithograph
1977
22 x 30
$ 5900 - $ 15000
Pueblo Potter, St II
Lithograph
1978
22 x 30
$ 3000 - $ 5500
Ranchos Twilight
Lithograph
1988
31.75 x 42
$ 5500 - $ 7200
https://www.michaelgormangallery.com/product-page/ranchos-twilight-1988-by-r-c-gorman
Red Concho
Lithograph
1989
$ 4400 - UnDet
Seated Woman, St I
Serigraph
Unknown
29 x 39.5
Undetermined
Seated Woman, St II
Serigraph
Unknown
29 x 39.5
Undetermined
Sisters-in-Law
Serigraph
1977
19.75 x 27.75
$ 2300 - $ 4600
Spirit, St I
Serigraph
1979
29 x 40
$ 1900 - $ 3900
Spirit, St II
Serigraph
1979
29 x 40
$ 1900 - $ 3900
Star Gazer
Lithograph
1990
30.75 x 35.75
$ 4000 - $ 5500
https://www.michaelgormangallery.com/product-page/star-gazer-1990-by-r-c-gorman
Sunset Woman
Lithograph
1988
Unknown
$ 2900 - $ 4200
Suzy, St I
Serigraph
1982
25.5 x 34
$ 2500 - $ 3900
Suzy, St II
Serigraph
1982
25.5 x 34
$ 2500 - $ 3900
Tamara, St I
Serigraph
1986
32 x 35.75
$ 2000 - $ 3900
Tamara, St II
Serigraph
1986
32 x 35.75
$ 2000 - $ 3900
Taos Flowers
Lithograph
1990
33 x 45
$ 5700 - $ 7200
The Gatherers, St II
Lithograph
2001
29 x 41
$ 3000 - $ 5200
https://www.michaelgormangallery.com/product-page/the-gatherers-state-ii-2001-by-r-c-gorman
Tonto Pot, St II
Lithograph
1979
22 x 30
$ 4900 - $ 7500
Tonto Woman
Lithograph
1992
29.5 x 36
$ 3000 - $ 6000
Twilight
Serigraph
2000
25 x 19.5
$ 1900 - $ 3900
Walking Woman, St I
Serigraph
1979
39 x 30.5
$ 3200 - $ 5000
Walking Woman, St II
Serigraph
1979
39 x 30.5
$ 3200 - $ 3900
Whispers
Lithograph
1989
29.5 x 36.5
$ 3500 - $ 4000
https://www.michaelgormangallery.com/product-page/whispers-rc-gorman
Winona, St I
Serigraph
1981
32 x 27
$ 3000 - $ 3900
Winona, St II
Serigraph
1981
32 x 27
$ 3000 - $ 3900
Woman From Maui, St I
Serigraph
1983
28.5 x 33.5
$ 1900 - $ 3900
Woman From Maui, St II
Serigraph
1983
28.5 x 33.5
$ 1900 - $ 3900
Woman From Third Mesa
Lithograph
1988
27 x 36
$ 4600 - $ 4500
Yosi
Serigraph
1977
18.5 x 12.75
$ 900 - $ 5900
Yossi-Bah
Serigraph
1988
19 x 25
$ 1800 - $ 5200
Zia, St I
Lithograph
1978
22 x 30
$ 4500 - $ 15000
Zia, St II
Lithograph
1978
22 x 30
$ 8200 - $ 15000
 

Paintings & Sketches

 

The Posters

Title
Image
Year Released
Prominent Text
Total Dimenstions
Image Size (Approx)
Complete Image?
See Also
Jonie (perhaps)
1991
R.C. Gorman <> Artistic Gallery Scottsdale Arizona <> February 21, 1991
No
Pottery Keeper
No
Potter Keeper, Lithograph
Yes
Nakai
1995
R.C. Gorman | Navajo Gallery • Taos
Yes
La Dulce
1992
Rio Grande Gallery / Santa Fe
Yes
Woman With Grapes
1990
3rd Annual New Mexico Wine Festival at Bernalillo
Yes
 

Ceramics