Skip To Main Content


Native American Artists | May - September 2023

Historical Library


The Jesuit Dallas Museum began in 1986 through the vision of President Clyde LeBlanc, S.J., and the generosity of Frank Ribelin’50, a core collection of primarily Native American art was established, and an inaugural collection was installed.

Jesuit has an extensive collection of Native American art including work by important artists, R.C. Gorman, Helen Hardin, Armond Lara, John Nieto, Amado Pena, Fritz Scholder, Ed Singer, Veloy Vigil, and C.J. Wells. The JDM collection also has Native American woven baskets and Native American Ceramics. The exhibition is as a tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans. The JDM Collection contains numerous works that depict imagery of Native Americans.

The Museum has several pieces by R.C. Gorman, one of the most famous American Indian artists, referred to as “the Picasso of American Indian Artists”.  R. C. Gorman was a painter, printmaker, sculptor and ceramicist who studied art and literature at Northern Arizona University and received a scholarship from the Navajo Tribal Council to study art at Mexico City College. There, he was influenced by the art of Mexican artists Diego Rivera, as well as David Siqueiros and Rufino Tamayo (all represented in the JDM collection).Works in our collection portray Gorman’s signature subject, the Native American woman, epitomizing his archetypal image of women as strong and enduring, yet possessing a soft and peaceful nature. In addition to the women, elements such as blankets, pottery, corn, as well as other Navajo artifacts often complete the composition.

The bronze bust (outside the Information Commons) is of the artist’s father Carl Gorman. It was cast in 1995 and is a homage to the heroic Navajo Code Talkers of World War II.

John Nieto (1936-2018) was a painter, printmaker and sculptor whose ancestry was Hispanic and Native American, both Apache and Navajo. Nieto’s works are noted for bold brushwork and vibrant hues, influenced by the bold colors of Fauvist artists including Matisse and Derain, whose works he first encountered on a trip, a kind of “vision quest,” to Paris.

Fritz Scholder (1937-2005), whose paternal grandmother was a member of the LuiseƱo Nation of California, courted controversy in the late 1960s with paintings, prints, photographs and sculpture that projected a realistic representation of modern Native American identity and experience. Doing so, he shattered stereotypes and inspired a generation of other Native American artists.

Ed Singer (1951), a painter and printmaker in modernist styles, was a member of the Navajo nation. His specialty is Indian figural subjects of which he said, “I do not do portraits. I use the figure in the same way that you would use a flower arrangement. The main intent is on the line.”

WPA Artists in the Jesuit Dallas Museum Collection

Outside of the Melsheimer Family Theater

To liaison with the Fine Arts Department and the production of John Steinbeck’s play Of Mice & Men, the Jesuit Dallas Museum created the exhibition, WPA (Works Progress Administration) Artists from the Jesuit Dallas Museum Collection. The exhibition brings together the work of artists who were part of the WPA program during the 1930’s – 1940’s. Artists included are:  Will Barnet, Herbert Bayer, Edward Hagedorn, Riva Helfond, Chet LaMore, Russell Limbach, and Beatrice Mandelman. As part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal during the Great Depression, the government-funded Federal Art Project (1935 -43) of the WPA(Works Progress Administration) hired as many as 10,000 artists to create murals, paintings, sculpture, graphic art, posters, photography, theatre scenic design, and arts and crafts.


The Builders, the Great Human Race, John L. Doyle (1939-2010)

Hall of Honors

The purpose of The Builders is to show how man’s ideas and concepts relate to the structures of The Great Human Race and this reflects his fascination with the human condition. The artist described himself as an “image maker,” a person devoted to producing visual conceptions. Many of his works have a historical or architectural perspective that derives from careful observation and research.