Fritz Scholder

American Artist

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About Fritz Scholder 

With his frank depictions of Native American life, Fritz Scholder created a unique combination of Pop Art, Color Field, and Expressionism in his sculptures, paintings, prints and books.


Fritz Scholder was born in Breckenridge, Minnesota, on October 6, 1937. His paternal grandmother was a member of the Luiseño tribe. Raised in North and South Dakota and Wisconsin, Scholder attended Wisconsin State University in Superior, where he studied with Michael Gorski, James Grittner, and Arthur Kruk.

In the late 1950s, his family settled in Sacramento, California, where he studied at Sacramento City College with Wayne Thiebaud, one of the most celebrated Bay Area artists. Thiebaud introduced Scholder to the Pop art movement and helped him arrange his debut solo exhibition.

After completing his MFA degree in 1964 from the University of Arizona, Scholder moved to Santa Fe to teach history and painting at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

His Work

In his work, Fritz Scholder frequently showed a grim side of the lives and deaths of Indians, including the effects of alcohol and other debaucheries. He regularly worked on a large scale, and his paintings and artworks on paper are bold and colorful compositions. His series on the Native American in 1967 attracted controversy for his depictions of the “real Indian” with American flags, cats, and beer cans.

His portraits have been described as expressing the gap between the romantic and backward-looking stereotypes of Indians and their harsh realities. While Scholder’s works also often employ sardonic humor, they strive to articulate the image of American Indian life in the modern age.

Besides lecturing at many art conferences and universities, including Dartmouth College and Princeton, Scholder published poetry, exhibited photographs, and worked as a guest artist at the Oklahoma Art Institute and the University of Souther California at Idyllwild.

Awards and Honors

Scholder had a retrospective hosted at the Tucson Museum of Art in 1981, and received the Award for Excellence in the Arts from the state of New Mexico. He was named lifetime Societaire of the Salon d’Automne, and in 1984 exhibited in Paris at the Grand Palais. In 1985, Scholder was honored by the American Academy of Achievement with the Golden Plate Award.


Best known for his acrylic and oil paintings, Scholder created work in many different mediums throughout his life. His oeuvre includes sculpture, collages, photographs, monotypes, lithographs, aquatints, etchings, and mixed media.

His work is held in dozens of museum collections, including the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Fritz described his approach to American Indians as “real, not red.” Though much of his work depicts Native Americans in a very expressionist and pop art manner, Scholder’s work created in the last years of his life included paintings and sculptures of everything from flowers to vampires. He also wrote poetry, and produced photographs and lithographs.


Best known for his abstract paintings of American Indians, Fritz Scholder is considered one of the most popular Native American artists of the 20th century. He was a versatile artist inspired more by aesthetic ambition than by a single subject matter. Although he claimed he wasn’t a protest painter, some of his paintings became Native empowerment’s symbols when Native protesters called for changes in Indian policy.

Since Scholder’s death, there has been a major upward trend in the value of his work. Bronzes, drawings, acrylics, and oil paintings have sold at market with prices ranging from $50 to more than $200,000. Scholder’s bronzes frequently sell for several thousand dollars, with the highest sold being $35,000.

Appraise and Sell Fritz Scholder’s Artwork

If you have any piece of art from Fritz Scholder, including his acrylic paintings, oil paintings, sculptures, Revere Auctions provides auction and appraisal services. If you would like to sell your Scholder originals, you can auction them at our location in St. Paul, Minnesota. We also offer our services online.

You can contact us anytime for a free auction estimate if you want to sell Scholder’s artwork. We have a very simple process. After you send us the photos of the work, our experts will take a look, analyze, and provide you an estimate of the amount the artwork is likely to reach at auction.

If you need an appraisal for Fritz Scholder’s work, we provide a certified appraisal report that can be used for estate taxes, donations, and insurance coverage. Our appraisals are compliant with Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and are accepted by insurance companies, charity agencies, and the IRS.

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