R.C. Gorman (Born in 1931) was the artist who was referred to as “the Picasso of American Indian art” by the New York Times. His paintings are characterized by vibrant colors and fluid forms, and are primarily of Native American women. This Native American artist also worked in stone lithography, ceramics, and sculpture. He also loved cuisine and even authored four cook books. His father, Carl Gorman, was a noted Navajo teacher and painter. Gorman began drawing at age 3. He used to draw on mud, sand, and rocks, and made sculptures with clay. Shirley Temple and Mickey Mouse are some of his earliest subjects. His grandmother helped to raise him, enumerating his genealogy of artist ancestors and recounting Navajo, she kindled his desire to become an artist.
But for his inspiration to become a full-time artist, Gorman credited Jenny Lind, a teacher at Ganado Presbyterian Mission School. After leaving school, Gorman served in the navy briefly before enrolling in Northern Arizona University where he minored in art and majored in literature. In 1958, the Navajo Tribal Council offered him a scholarship to study outside the US. He enrolled in an art program at Mexico City College where he was influenced by the work of Diego Rivera whose art he also learnt. Gorman worked as a model and also studied at San Francisco State University. In 1968, he moved to New Mexico where he opened an art gallery called R.C. Gorman Navajo Gallery, the first art gallery in Taos owned by Native American.