Born in 1937 in Minnesota, Fritz Scholder knew what he must do at an early age. As a high school student in Pierre, South Dakota, his teacher was Oscar Howe, a Dakota artist who paved the way for contemporary Native American Artists. After graduating with an MFA Degree in 1964, Scholder accepted the position of instructor in Advanced Painting and Contemporary Art History at the newly formed Institute of American Indians Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Scholder traveled and worked around the world. In 1967, his new series on the Native American, depicting the “real Indian,” became an immediate controversy. Fritz Scholder embraced it and also paradox. An enrolled memeber of the Luiseno tribe, he often said he was not Indian. Scholder's works were immediately recognized for their insight and powerful commentary on publicly held stereotypes of Native Americans (and Native American artists)and propelled Scholder into a position of prominence as an artist and a major influence on a generation of Native American artists.
Scholder's desire to explore, collect, travel and experience is the distinguishing feature of both his life and his art. Scholder is best known for his expressionist paintings that are in museum collections around the world. His style is well known for its distortions, explosive brushwork and vivid colors.
Scholder died in 2005 at the age of 67.