Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Art History

First Advisor

Robert Hobbs

Second Advisor

James Farmer

Third Advisor

Babatunde Lawal

Fourth Advisor

W. Jackson Rushing III

Fifth Advisor

Michael Schreffler

Sixth Advisor

Gregory Smithers


Those scholars who have overlooked the relevance of Fred Kabotie and the Santa Fe Style he developed have missed an important historical segment of early Native American painting. This dissertation underscores the convergence of diverse intellectual, artistic and cultural backgrounds, especially those of Kabotie and Elizabeth Willis DeHuff, his first art teacher, which led to the formation of the Santa Fe Style in 1918. This style was formative for Dorothy Dunn’s later Studio School at the Santa Fe Indian Boarding School.

This first generation of the Santa Fe Style of watercolor painting was empowered by highly educated men and women, who helped to ensure the national recognition Kabotie’s work received. Among Kabotie’s early supporters were Elizabeth Willis and John DeHuff, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Edgar Lee Hewett, Kenneth Chapman, Robert Henri, Maynard Dixon, Marsden Hartley, John Sloan, John Louw Nelson and George Gustav Heye. By uncovering the multiple discourses connecting these individuals with Kabotie and his work, this study develops a basis for analyzing the many perspectives this new style synthesized and advanced. This dissertation positions Kabotie and the Santa Fe Style within these and several larger cultural arenas, including Hopi culture, modern art and Santa Fe intellectuals, thus providing a multistoried dimensionality overlooked in earlier scholarship.

Through evaluating these individuals who informed and empowered the creation of the Santa Fe Style, while carefully considering Kabotie’s response to them in his work, this dissertation initiates a clearer understanding of early twentieth-century cultural and artistic interactions, both locally and nationally. The Santa Fe Style provided a new direction for American Indian art prior to World War II; it initiated a fresh dialogue between the Hopi people and the Anglo government, and it afforded a complex and ongoing conversation for not just Fred Kabotie and his art, but also, through him, the Hopi people. Moreover, it had a profound effect on the development of Southwest Native American painting over the next fifty years.


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