MAY 13, 1915


Howe was born on the Crow Creek Reservation of South Dakota.  In 1938, he graduated from Santa Fe Indian School.  Working for the Federal Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Howe painted murals, including one within the dome of the Carnegie Resource Center.  After serving in World War II, Howe earned an M.F.A. from the University of Oklahoma (OU) in 1954.  By 1960, he had developed his modernist style-bright color with dynamic motion-and led other Native American artists in overcoming the stereotypical constraints of “traditional” Indian art.  Howe exhibited works in New York, London and Paris.  Named Artist Laureate of South Dakota (1954), he also received the Waite Phillips trophy (1966), the South Dakota Governor’s Award for Creative Achievement (1973), and the Golden Bear Award from OU (1970).  Howe was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 1979.  He served as Professor of Art at University of South Dakota from 1957 until his death on October 7, 1983.

Source:  “Oscar Howe Biography,” South Dakota Art Museum, South Dakota State University.  Retrieved 6/30/2019,
Photo:  1979.  Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame.  

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