© 2010-2024 by Fine Arts of the Southwest, Inc. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized reproduction or use is strictly prohibited by law.

“A De Puy landscape is not the landscape we see with routine eyes or can record by camera. He paints

a hallucinated, magical, sometimes fearsome world—not the world that we think we see, but the one,

he declares, that is really there. A world of terror as well as beauty—the terrible beauty that lies beyond the ordinary limits of human experience, that forms the basis of experience, the ground of being."

—John DePuy's lifelong friend, writer Edward Abbey, in “Down The River”, E.P. Dutton, New York, 1982

John De Puy at his retrospective exhibition opening at The Harwood Museum, Taos, NM, 2016

Photo © Fine Arts of the Southwest, Inc. All rights reserved.

“The land is my root and my being. Everything I am is the land and I spent 50 years interpreting it in painting and fighting lost causes.”

-Excerpted from “An Interview with John De Puy”

in “The Canyon Country Zephyr”, 2001

"Navajo Mt. 2014"                                                          "Navajo Mt. 2016"

Two beautiful original Taos Modernist oil

on canvas paintings of Navajo Mountain, Utah

by John De Puy

Ex: John and Isabel De Puy, Taos, New Mexico

These are two very powerfully rendered paintings of a sacred and exceptionally powerful place, a place of deep historic significance to the Native Navajo and Hopi people of the Four Corners region and to the heart and mind of the extremely talented Southwestern artist who painted them. Taos Modernist artist, John De Puy (1927-2023), was one of the finest and most unique artists ever to paint the American West; a man with a singular and very powerful personal artistic vision and viewpoint.

The sacred Navajo Mountain in the extremely rugged and remote territory of far northern Arizona on the Utah border which the Navajo refer to as being “Naatsis-aan" or “Head of the Earth” was one of John De Puy’s favorite subjects for intensely personal reasons. John served as a medic in The Korean War and was very badly wounded both physically and psychologically. After the war he returned to his Southwestern home and one day by chance he heard of a renowned Navajo Medicine Man named Long Salt who lived high on the slopes of Navajo Mountain. De Puy came to see Long Salt who took him in as a patient and apprentice of sorts and over the course of a year cured him as John described below in

a 2006 interview with Jim Stiles of The Canyon Country Zephyr:

“I went out to Navajo Mountain and for some reason, I can’t remember why, somebody introduced me to Long Salt, a hataalii,

a medicine man. And Long Salt talked to me and he said, “You’re in bad shape. You’re in bad shape.” He said, “You’re dying, you stay here with me and I’ll bring you back to life. He was 90 at that time.” I stayed with him for almost twelve months and he taught me to be his assistant in the sand paintings and I would grind the paints then put them in the abalone shell and I learned to create the different pigments.

He sent me on a spirit quest, fasting, sitting up on top of Navajo Mountain——I went out of my mind—the purpose of this, he told me, was to find my spirit side. After a week of fasting, a week of sitting there, I started seeing all kinds of things. I don’t remember if it was reality or fantasy but a raven came and sat at my feet and then another day three coyotes sat with me. Finally I came down and told him about this. I asked him whether it was a dream and he said, “Those are your spirit guides Coyote and Raven…As long as you’re good to coyote and raven, you’ll be fine.”

-John De Puy as told to The Canyon Country Zephyr, Interview with Jim Stiles 2006. Text source and © The Canyon Country Zephyr.

The Navajo Mountain region has special cultural significance to the Navajo people, who know it as Naatsisʼáán ("Earth Head" or "Pollen Mountain”). Together with Rainbow Bridge to the northwest, Navajo Mountain figures prominently as the first settlement area in western Navajo origin stories. Following the military defeat of the Navajo people by United States forces in 1863, the political landscape was changed by new boundaries and major physical alterations. Access to Navajo Mountain is still regulated by the sovereign Navajo Nation, and a permit is required to hike in the region. Climbing the mountain itself is forbidden.

Text and photos source and © Wikipedia

John De Puy life’s work was recognized and honored in a major retrospective exhibition at the Harwood Foundation Museum in Taos, New Mexico in 2016. We were extremely honored to attend that exhibition as John’s invited guests.

Photo © Fine Arts of the Southwest, Inc. All rights reserved.

Until his recent death in 2023, John DePuy was one of the oldest living members of the famed Taos Modernists artist's group and he was a Modernist artist through and through. Accordingly, both of these paintings display very high-key, deepy-saturated color palettes with very nice somewhat impastoed paint surfaces. John's brush strokes are long and highly-expressive. There is an element of reality portrayed here, of course, but in line with John DePuy's training and tutelage under the great Abstract Expressionist, Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), the compositions are much more

abstracted, expressive and dynamic than mere rote re-creations of objective reality.

These two paintings are both done in oil on canvas and they both measure a very nicely-sized 11 1/2" in height by 15 3/4"

in width (sight) and their framed dimensions are 12 1/2" in height by 16 5/8" in width. The paintings are framed in narrow, plain wooden slat frames hand made by John’s wife and fellow artist, Isabel Ferriera De Puy which complement the paintings simply and perfectly. Both paintings are in completely excellent original condition with no condition issues at

all and each painting is properly titled, signed and dated by John de Puy on the verso as pictured here.

The paintings both have perfect provenance. We purchased them directly from John and Isabel De Puy in in Taos, NM

in 2016. They went from John and Isabel’s hands straight into our hands and they have been hanging safely undisturbed

in our home gallery ever since that time. This is the first time we have offered them for sale.

These paintings are heartfelt and powerful depictions of a powerful and sacred place by a sensitive modern artist of extraordinary ability who knew it intimately and was moved by the exceptional strength and beauty of this important place and skillfully conveyed that intense feeling and emotion in these evocative and beautiful paintings of it.

Price $3,250 each, $5,850 for both


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