Welcoming Back John Nieto: Twentieth Century Legend of the American West

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Welcoming Back John Nieto: Twentieth Century Legend of the American West

Altamira Fine Art is excited to once again represent the work of John Nieto (1936-2018), the Native American and Hispanic artist who is widely regarded as one of America's most accomplished, dynamic and exciting contemporary artists.

 

John Nieto was born in 1936 in Denver, Colorado. He was the third oldest of fourteen children born to Natalia Venegas Nieto, who was of Mescalero Apache and Hispanic descent, and Simon Nieto, who later became a Methodist minister relocating his family across Texas and New Mexico. Even in his youth, Nieto knew he wanted to be an artist. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Methodist University in 1959. Shortly after his education, Nieto traveled to Paris and found inspiration from 1920’s Fauvist artists such as Henri Matisse, André Derain, Marc Chagall, and George Braque – all of whom used pure color and bold lines in their compositions. The Fauves gave him "permission" to use the colors he already felt intuitively about.

 

From the beginning of his career, John incorporated this radiant bold style into depictions from his upbringing in the American Southwest, showing a sensitivity and respect for his subject. He was deeply impacted by his grandmother, Maria Gonzales, who exposed him to and taught him about his Native American ancestry in New Mexico, which can be traced back over three hundred years. He felt a connection to her culture and her people, who inspired him to paint archers, dancers, chiefs and braves, and wildlife.

 

Nieto personified his unique vision of the subjects he paints on canvases alive with vibrant, electric hues. The work concentrates on themes that transcend mere representation. His liberal use of intense primary colors, applied in bold strokes, creates both dimension and character on the canvas. His etchings and drawings exemplify classic linear techniques resulting in images of great detail and depth. 


Nieto's distinctive style, combination of subject matter, expressionist technique, and use of strong color is instantly recognizable and collectors throughout the United States and abroad prize his work. He produced bronze sculptures, etchings, lithographs and silk- screen prints, in addition to drawings in pastel crayons and charcoal. In his last several years, he devoted his time almost exclusively to painting.

 

Artist John Nieto in his studio working on a figurative painting.

 

After participating in an exhibit at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., John met with President Reagan in the Oval Office and presented him with the painting "Delegate to the White House." The painting hung for the duration of the President's term in office and now has been included in the presidential library.


In 1981, John participated by invitation in the "Salon d'Autumn" at the Grand Palais, Paris, France, and in 1989 he mounted a one-man show at the Axis Gallery in Tokyo, Japan. John received the New Mexico Governor's Award for Achievement in the Arts in 1994, and served on the Advisory Boards for both the Wheelwright Museum and the Native American Preparatory School. His work is represented in the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe. 


In his last year of life, Nieto completed 20 new cubist paintings, working until his last days. John passed away at the age of 81 on July 11th, 2018 peacefully in his home in Texas surrounded by his family. We are honored to represent his work, and we are committed to providing a space for it to live on.

Exhibition Work

Acoma Water, 1988

Acoma Water, 1988

Regular price
$121,000.00
Sale price
$121,000.00
Regular price
American Icons, 2011

American Icons, 2011

Regular price
$48,000.00
Sale price
$48,000.00
Regular price
Archer IV, 2012

Archer IV, 2012

Regular price
$10,200.00
Sale price
$10,200.00
Regular price
Comanche Pony, 2009

Comanche Pony, 2009

Regular price
$36,000.00
Sale price
$36,000.00
Regular price
Crow Chief Holding Eagle Feather Fan, 2000

Crow Chief Holding Eagle Feather Fan, 2000

Regular price
$36,000.00
Sale price
$36,000.00
Regular price
Early Southwestern Man, 2015

Early Southwestern Man, 2015

Regular price
$24,000.00
Sale price
$24,000.00
Regular price
Fancy Dancer, 2011

Fancy Dancer, 2011

Regular price
$48,000.00
Sale price
$48,000.00
Regular price
General Custer, 2011

General Custer, 2011

Regular price
$10,200.00
Sale price
$10,200.00
Regular price
Reclining Apache Scout

Reclining Apache Scout

Regular price
$55,000.00
Sale price
$55,000.00
Regular price
Southwestern Scion, 2005

Southwestern Scion, 2005

Regular price
$55,000.00
Sale price
$55,000.00
Regular price
Taos Drum Talk, 1989

Taos Drum Talk, 1989

Regular price
$88,000.00
Sale price
$88,000.00
Regular price
Two Moons Waits for Broken Arm, 2014

Two Moons Waits for Broken Arm, 2014

Regular price
$24,000.00
Sale price
$24,000.00
Regular price