Allan Capron Houser or Haozous (1914-1994) was a Chiricahua Apache sculptor, painter and book illustrator born in Oklahoma. He is one of the most renowned Native American painters and Modernist sculptors of the 20th century.
Houser's work can be found at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. and in numerous major museum collections throughout the North America, Europe, and Japan. Additionally, Houser's Offering of the Sacred Pipe is on display at United States Mission to the United Nations in New York City.
Born in 1914 to Sam and Blossom Haozous on the family farm near Apache, Oklahoma and Fort Sill, Native American artist Allan Houser was the first member of his family from the Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache tribe born outside of captivity since Geronimo’s 1886 surrender and the tribe's imprisonment by the U.S. government. The tribe had been led in battle by the legendary spiritual leader Geronimo, who would later rely on his grandnephew Sam Haozous, Allan’s father, to serve as his translator.
In 1934, Houser left Oklahoma at the age of 20 to study at Dorothy Dunn's Art Studio at the Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dunn's method encouraged working from personal memory, avoiding techniques of perspective or modeling, and stylization of Native iconography. For the latter, Houser made hundreds of drawings and canvasses in Santa Fe and was one of Dunn's top students, but he found the program too constricting.
While Houser's early career was marked by his drawings and paintings, it was for sculpture that he eventually became a world-renowned artist. Beginning in 1940 with simple wood carvings, Houser created his first monumental work in stone in 1949, the iconic piece Comrades in Mourning at the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas. But it would be quite some time before he had the time and resources to produce his remarkable bronzes.
In 1985, Houser’s monumental bronze, Offering of the Sacred Pipe, was dedicated at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City A year later, he made a bronze bust of Geronimo to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the surrender of the Chiricuhua Apaches. A cast of the bust was later presented to the National Portrait Gallery, where it remains in the permanent collection.