Allan Houser (Haozous): Sacred Rain Arrow

Allan Houser: Sacred Rain Arrow
Allan Houser, Sacred Rain Arrow, 1988, bronze
Gift of Jane and Gary Loo;
Custom granite pedestal, Gift of Marino Tile & Marble, Inc.

About the sculpture …

Before his death, Allan Houser granted the Native American Sports Council permission to use the image of his dramatic sculpture Sacred Rain Arrow. This monumental piece depicts a young Apache warrior shooting his arrow towards heaven with the hope of carrying a prayer for rain to the Spirit World.  Houser represents the strength, dignity, beauty and spirituality of his people. Sacred Rain Arrow was the centerpiece of the Olympic Village at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, welcoming 3,500 athletes and officials from 80 nations.

About the artist …

Allan Houser (American, 1914-1994) is one of the foremost painters and sculptors of the 20th Century. The Chiricahua Apache artist is recognized for bringing together his Native American experience and the language of modern abstraction. At the age of twenty, Houser studied with pioneering art instructor Dorothy Dunn at the Santa Fe Indian School in New Mexico. Dunn is known for encouraging Native American artists to work in a traditional figurative style, incorporating tribal identification in the subject matter to create historical-looking scenes. Houser was among many important contemporary artists that studied with Dunn, including Ben Quintana, Harrison Begay, and Tonita Lujan.

By 1939, Houser was showing his work nationally. He exhibited at the New York and San Francisco World’s Fairs and received his first major public mural commission for the US Department of the Interior building in Washington, D.C.  In 1940, he began to explore the medium of sculpture. He studied the work of modernist sculptors Jean Arp, Brancusi, and Henry Moore, who became great influences in his work.

Houser inspired young artists and shared his talent through teaching.  His role as Head of the Sculpture Department of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe was instrumental in the advancement of Native American art of the 20th Century. By the 1960s he was working with the complex medium of bronze, developing a distinctive visual language that incorporated the cultural iconography of Indian tribes and heritage, with modern abstracted forms.  Houser became a master sculptor working in stone, bronze, and welded steel; creating outstanding pieces that were based on both tradition and innovation. 

After teaching at the Institute for 13 years, the artist retired from teaching and devoted all of his time to creating art. He became extremely prolific in both sculpting and painting.  He worked on numerous public commissions, for which he received great recognition. In 1991, he presented the casting of the bronze Sacred Rain Arrow to the Smithsonian Institute. Houser dedicated this phenomenal piece to the American Indian. In 1992, he became the first Native American to receive the National Medal of the Arts.

His work is in renowned collections throughout the world, including the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; National Museum of American Indian, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe; Wheelwright Museum, Santa Fe; Heard Museum, Phoenix; British Royal Collection, London; Japanese Royal Collection, Tokyo; and of course, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, among many others.

"The pride and dignity that my father saw in all mankind, as well as the strength and beauty he saw in his own people as they fought to preserve their way of life, he carved into immense blocks of stone.  He captured those precious moments with delicate sweeping lines in his elegant bronze figures."

— Phillip M. Haozous, Allan Houser’s son

Join our email list! Tickets | Locations | Contact Us | Join the FAC | Media | Home | FAC Blog