Last month I was lucky enough to go with a group on a private guided tour of the Allan Houser Compound and Sculpture Garden, just outside Santa Fe. On the grounds there is a museum/gallery, a bronze foundry, meeting rooms, the home where Houser's elderly widow still resides, and many trails with the beautiful sculptures (largely of Native American figures) created by Allan Houser.
There are only a few "open to visitors" days each year, but guided tours are available to groups by appointment--if you're in, or near Santa Fe, I highly recommend this visit; go to the Allan Houser website for more information. Our wonderful guide gave us a word portrait of Houser's life which was extremely evocative and touching; then walked us around the grounds pointing out various pieces of interest and telling us Houser's artistic biography at the same time.
When I saw the phenomenal output of this talented artist (who, incidentally, created most of his remarkable body of work after he "retired" at 61, until his death in 1994), I wondered how it was possible I had never heard of him--even many Santa Fe folk don't know about him.
Houser (whose original family name was Haozous) was born into the Chiricahua Apache tribe in 1914. His father, Sam Haozous, was with Geronimo's band when he surrendered to the US Army in 1886 in Mexico. Members of the tribe were held as prisoners of war for the next 27 years in Florida, Alabama, and Oklahoma. Allan was born shortly after his parents' release--the first child born to a tribe member after the Chiricahua were released from captivity. Click here to read Allan's full biography.
Here are some of the sculptures I photographed against the beautiful New Mexico skies.