Gerald Nailor, Sr.
Gerald Nailor, Sr. (1917–1952) or Toh Yah (Navajo: Tóyá) was a Navajo Studio painter from Picurís, New Mexico. Beginning in 1942, he was commissioned to paint the history of the Navajo people for a large mural at the Navajo Nation Council Chamber, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Gerald Nailor Sr. was born in 1917 in Pinedale, New Mexico; his Navajo name is Toh Yah (Walking By the River). He enrolled in the Albuquerque Indian School from 1930 to 1934. After that he attended the Santa Fe Indian School, where he studied art under Dorothy Dunn from 1935 to 1937. After working under Dunn, Nailor spent a year studying with Kenneth Chapman and the Swedish muralist Olle Nordmark.
Marriage and family
He met his future wife, who was working as a nurse at the Santa Fe Indian Hospital. Upon marrying, they relocated to Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico, where they reared their five children. Their son Gerald Nailor also became an artist.
With fellow-artist and classmate Harrison Begay, Nailor founded "Tewa Enterprises", an art publishing firm specializing in Native American art, especially that of the two founders. Tewa Enterprises became known for the high quality of their silkscreen prints.
In 1942, Nailor was selected for the commission for a mural for the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock, Arizona, to depict the history of the Navajo people. He was one of thousands who applied for the job, which officials expected to take take 3–5 years. In 2004, the building (and its mural) was declared a National Historic Landmark.
- Photograph of Gerald Nailor, Sr. painting History and Progress of the Navajo Nation, installed at Navajo Nation Council Chamber, Digital Vaults
- Gerald Nailor Bio (son), Official Website with artwork
- "Gerald Nailor", Art of the Print
- Lester, 382
- Pohl, Frances K. (2008). Framing America: A Social History of American Art (2nd ed.). Thames & Hudson Inc. p. 395. ISBN 978-0-500-28715-6.
- Fahlman, Betsy (2009). New Deal Art in Arizona. University of Arizona Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-8165-2292-7.
- Brief Bio
- Navajo Nation Council Chamber, at National Park Service.
- Lester, Patrick D. The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters. Norman and London: The Oklahoma University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8061-9936-9.
- "Brief Biography." Gerald Nailor.Com. Ed. Dane Vierow. 29 May 2007.
- "Gerald Nailor Interview." Personal interview. 26 Apr. 2009. Interview about Gerald Nailor, Sr.