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INNER FIRE


Alan Hauser
hauser 3 I first saw Allan Hauser’s art when I went to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the first time in 1966. I saw then that what I did and what I was teaching was only a first step toward the sculpture I wanted to make. Allan’s iconic style, avoiding unnecessary iconography, filled me with a great sense of peace. His Native American mothers holding their children were not just literal pictures of people, but solid mass forms filled with life which invited you to touch them. I had been working for years, but for the first time, I realized that everything is simply “forms” with a certain solidity, not just sculpture. Our eye does not take in everything which is there; in painting a tree we don’t paint each leaf, or each hair on a head, rather we try to convey the feeling of the entire form. So what Allan taught me throughout that summer, was how to “feel” a sculpture, and how to convey that feeling in the finished piece.

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Born in Oklahoma in 1914, Allan Hauser was the first member of his family from the Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache to be born outside captivity since Geronimo’s 1886 surrender after the tribe’s imprisonment by the United States. His father, Sam Haozous, was the grand-nephew of Geronimo, and served as his translator after the release.

Allan went to study at the Santa Fe Indian School in 1934, where he first formed his distinctive style in both painting and sculpture. It was there he met and married his wife Anna Maria Gallegos, and they were married for fifty-five years. They moved to Los Angeles in the second World War and he worked at the shipyards there. Through friends at the Pasadena Art Institute, he became familiar with the art of Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi, and Henry Moore, as well as Barbara Hepworth, from whom he learned the importance of open spaces within the sculpture. When Allan explained Hepworth’s monumental pieces to me, he stressed the importance of letting your mind supply what was missing in the void.

In my own study of Japanese art and floral arranging, that “absence of the unimportant” gave meaning to the piece which would not have been there with too much explanation. In the case of floral arrangements, it would be too many flowers.

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Allan Joined the faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe in 1962. It was there I met him in the summer of 1966, when I went with my Isleta-Laguna friend Georgia Abeita Oliver. He was a soft-spoken and generous man who graciously gave his knowledge and advice to a visiting stranger and fellow art teacher. There was no indication that this self-effacing man was one of the most renowned Native American artists in the 20th century.

When he died at the age of 80, he left behind thousands of paintings and drawings as well as his amazing public sculptures as a visual lexicon.

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In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Albert Schweitzer

Apache

“Apache Man” white carrara marble Allan Hauser

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14 comments on “INNER FIRE

  1. A great man and artist. Thank you for bringing him to our attention. How fortunate for you to have met him. I can see how he must have been drawn to Arp, Brancusi and Henry Moore. A great article.
    It is so true that good art always has the essential condensed and avoids the decorative for the sake of decorative. It usually hides a lack of something else and throws sand in our eyes.

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    • Good art is still being made.  We just need to look for it.  The new experimenters may someday be great artists too.  It’s all about taking a risk.  Like clothing fashion, sometimes our eye needs to become accustomed to it.  with all the new materials around it’s an exciting time for young artists.

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  2. Alan Hauser was indeed a fine artist. His art really is priceless and I know that you must be very grateful to have met and learned from a master. Do have any of his work and do you sculpt now?

    Through this post you have broadened my appreciaation of the arts Thanks Kayti.

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    • I studied under many very fine artists  both here in California and elsewhere.  His main interest became very large bronze public pieces which can be found all over the world.  My great sadness is that I had to give up both sculpture and pottery last year when  I had a complete shoulder replacement.  I sold my studio.  You don’t regain muscle as  fast when you get older!  This is why I began writing a blog, because  it keeps me in touch with lovely people like you! 

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      • Gee thanks, Kayti. I am so sorry that you had to give up your art. I do hope your shoulder is doing “good.” I am not a youngster either so I totally understand age related health problems.

        Regards,
        yvonne

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      • Oh I haven’t given up making art Yvonne.  Just can’t do sculpture anymore.  It takes a lot of muscle surprisingly!  A sculptor needs to keep in pretty good shape to handle such heavy material.  And I am quite a small person–only 5 ft and 97 lbs.   For some reason, like cars and refrigerators, our bodies wear out beyond a certain point!  But a few minor repairs now and then keep us all still in the loop.  Thanks so much for reading my output.   Kayti

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      • I am glad that you still making art. I’m not a big person either. I am 5 ft.3 and weigh around 105-107. I’ve never weighed more than 110 except when pregnant with my two children.

        I need to be a bit heavier but I am on a very strict and limited diet plus fresh vegetable and apple juice made daily. I am trying to stay healthy and not need a bunch of meds to keep me going.

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      • I truly love fresh apple/carrot juice!  I need to bring my juicer back from the garage!  It seems you get so many appliances that clutter up the counter.  The longer we can go without meds the better off we are.  They all have side effects which if you listen to the ads on TV, would make people think twice before taking any of them!  Unfortunately I do have to take a few, but it is what it is. I had massive jaw surgery last year along with my shoulder and lost 20 lbs. taking me down to 86 which was really scary.  I laughed at Gerard’s article about obesity because I began eating a ton of ice cream, butter, whip cream, etc. to try and gain some back.  It is as difficult to game as it is to lose!   I’m OK where I am, but had to buy a whole new wardrobe!  Not bad.

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      • Oh my Kayti. I hope all is well now re: your jaw. about trying to gain weight. IO probably will not get much past 115lbs if I am lucky. I eat a restricted diet due to many allergies that became really bad in february. I eat no sugar and sweeten with honey which I can tolerate. No corn, citrus, gluten. only fish, no dairy, and the list goes on. There was mold in my Ac and I just learned of it a few days ago. I knew there had to be an answer of why I was so ill. I really thought I was going to die. Numbness and tingling of arms, legs, face, severe fatigue and arthritis that was in my hands.

        anyway to shorten this I had eaten all those things before in moderation and only now and then I ate something made with cane sugar.

        Now I need to have entire house tested for mold since I am still have some odd symptoms but I am much better. I must rid the hpuse of ALL MOLD.

        So kayti, i did not mean to keep you in your comments but I just had to add this. Don’t feel compelled to answer this as I am sure you want to get off the depressing subject of aging and physical health.

        I reckon the wardrobe partially compensated for having lost so much weight. 🙂

        Please excuse any typos, etc.

        Regards,
        yvonne

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      • Yes,mold is a very bad problem in certain areas and can cause serious illness.  I hope you get that fixed soon.  As some people say “The golden years are tarnished!” 

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  3. Fabulous post, Kayti. I could listen to you speak about form and non-form for hours. Well done. The epigraph from Schweitzer is so good.

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  4. It’s July 4th, and I have some freedom from the usual routine, so this morning is being devoted to “catch up”. As you’ve probably figured out by now, when I finally get into working on a new piece for my blog, I tend to disappear from reading and commenting until it’s posted. If I don’t focus on what I’m working on – particularly something like my current, which has so many threads woven into it – either I never finish or the quality is poor. (I keep the poor ones to myself, giving them a little time to rest and recover!)

    It sounds as though you’ve had quite a bit of R&R time yourself over the past couple of years. It’s so funny – I’m trying to get off some pounds, and one of the things I’ve had to give up is my beloved gelato. Ah, well. I’m finally getting in the groove, and five of those pounds are gone. Maybe fifteen more and I’ll be happy.

    Beyond all that, this is a marvelous post. So much of what you and Mr. Hauser have to say about sculpture and form is applicable to writing, too. “The absence of the unimportant” is at the heart of the editing process – not so much copy editing as the editing of ideas, thoughts, creative linkages.

    In a very real sense, especially with longer posts, I sometimes feel as though I’m “sculpting” the prose. Now and then I laugh, because I’ve started with a hundred word paragraph and end with a two-word phrase – that I use somewhere else!

    I love the connections among the arts. It’s one reason I tend to read the writing of painters, sculptors and photographers more than I do that of writers. It helps to keep my perspective fresh, and helps guard against a formulaic approach to writing.

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    • My R &R over the past couple of years is what brought me to writing, so I am always learning.  We tend to define ourselves by what we ‘do’.  I am a sculptor, and as the truck drove away carrying kilns, potters wheel, etc.  my thought was “Who am I now?”  I actually hung a ceramic plaque over my drawing board to remind me!  Crazy.  But we reinvent ourselves every day.  Who we were yesterday doesn’t mean we cannot “be” someone else tomorrow.  It’s all a matter of choice, just as choosing the right word equates with a new painting or a new sculpture.  What happens on page one determines what happens on page 10 or 25.  Spare, concise writing  to tell a story again coincides with a good sculpture or painting.  Interesting that you seek posts about art, as I tend to enjoy good writing, and yours is certainly that.   I am addicted to chocolate and ice cream, mixed together or otherwise.  So I understand your love of gelato!

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