Acee Blue Eagle

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Acee Blue Eagle
Chebon Ahbulah (Laughing Boy), Lumhee Holot-Tee (Blue Eagle)
Acee Blue Eagle.jpeg
Alexander C. McIntosh

(1907-08-16)August 16, 1907
DiedJune 18, 1959(1959-06-18) (aged 51)
Resting placeNational Cemetery, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
NationalityMuscogee (Creek) Nation
EducationBacone College, University of Oklahoma,
Alma materUniversity of Oklahoma
OccupationArtist, educator, dancer, and Native American flute player.
EmployerBacone College, self
OrganizationUnited States Army Air Corps, Bacone College
Known forDirecting the art program at Bacone College
Notable work
Murals in the dining hall of the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) and U.S. Post Office at Seminole, Oklahoma
StyleBacone style
Spouse(s)Second wife, Balinese dancer, Devi Dja
Partner(s)Mae Wadley Abbott
Parent(s)Solomon McIntosh, mother was Martha "Mattie" Odom
RelativesSecond cousin, Muscogee/Seminole artist Fred Beaver; cousin, Howard Rufus Collins, who painted under the name Ducee Blue Buzzard
AwardsIndian Hall of Fame, Who's Who of Oklahoma, International Who's Who, "Outstanding Indian in the United States", 1958; received a medal for eight paintings at the National Museum of Ethiopia

Acee Blue Eagle (17 August 1907 – 18 June 1959) was a Native American artist, educator, dancer, and Native American flute player,[1] who directed the art program at Bacone College. His birth name was Alexander C. McIntosh, he also went by Chebon Ahbulah (Laughing Boy), and Lumhee Holot-Tee (Blue Eagle), and was an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Early life and education[edit]

Alexander C. McIntosh was born north of Anadarko, Oklahoma on August 17, 1907;[2] however, his birth year is also given as 1909.[3][4] His father was Solomon McIntosh, and his mother was Martha "Mattie" McIntosh. His Muscogee Creek great-grandfather served as a chief for 31 years.[3]

Blue Eagle studied Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, and then Chilocco Indian Agricultural School, where he earned his high school diploma in 1928.[4] He began college at Bacone College in Muskogee and then completed his BFA degree at University of Oklahoma (OU) in Norman in 1932. While at OU, Blue Eagle studied painting under Oscar B. Jacobson, known for popularizing “Flatstyle” painting.[5]

Blue Eagle served for three years in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II.[4]

Teaching career[edit]

Blue Eagle joined the art department at Bacone College in 1935, where he directed the program until 1938 and helped shaped development of the Bacone style of painting and grow the department.[6][7][8] After the war, he taught at Oklahoma State Technical School in Okmulgee.[1][4]

Art career[edit]

Blue Eagle's work was part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1932 Summer Olympics.[9]

In 1935, Blue Eagle was invited to give a series of lectures on American Indian art at Oxford University in England. By 1938, his work had become nationally recognized, and he had a solo exhibition at the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City.[4]

From 1936 to 1937, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman exhibited the solo show, Acee Blue Eagle, Bacone, water-colors.[10] In the 1940s, he created a number of works for his friend, the collector Thomas Gilcrease.[11] Blue Eagle gained worldwide fame during his lifetime, and his two-dimensional paintings hang in private and public galleries all over the world.

Blue Eagle was well known for painting large interior murals, some of which are still preserved in Oklahoma. In 1934, he painting murals for the Federal Art Project in 1934.[12] One of Acee's murals was in the dining hall of the USS Oklahoma (BB-37). The Public Works of Art Project commissioned him to paint two murals for classrooms in the health and physical education building of Oklahoma College for Women, now the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, in Chickasha, Oklahoma.[13] He completed PWAP murals at other Oklahoma colleges, including one in the auditorium of Central State College (now University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond) and on in the administration building of Northeastern State Teachers' College (now Northeastern State University in Tahlequah).[13]

Another of his WPA mural, Seminole Indian Scene (1939), large interior oil on canvas, is still on display at the U.S. post office in Seminole, Oklahoma. For the U.S. Post Office in Coalgate, Oklahoma, Blue Eagle painted the acrylic Women Making Pishafa,[13] or Indian Family at Routine Tasks[citation needed] in 1942, which was commissioned by the Section of Painting and Sculpture.[14] Fred Beaver, a Muscogee Creek/Seminole artist, restored Blue Eagle's Coalgate mural in 1965.[15]

Blue Eagle's work was part of Stretching the Canvas: Eight Decades of Native Painting (2019–21), a survey at the National Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center.[16]

Awards and honors[edit]

Blue Eagle was elected into the Indian Hall of Fame, Who's Who of Oklahoma, and the International Who's Who. He was chosen "Outstanding Indian in the United States" in 1958. Among his many honors, Blue Eagle received a medal for eight paintings at the National Museum of Ethiopia, presented by the Emperor Haile Selassie I.[3] Fellow Oklahoma artist and muralist Charles Banks Wilson said of Blue Eagle, "Acee was the Dale Carnegie of Indian Art. Curator and art historian Jeanne O. Snodgrass wrote in 1968, "If Oklahoma has a foundation in Indian Art, it is with Acee Blue Eagle."[3]


Blue Eagle's cousin was painter Solomon McCombs (Muscogee/Seminole).[5] Another cousin, Howard Rufus Collins, painted under the name Ducee Blue Buzzard, as a parody of Acee's name.[17]

Death and legacy[edit]

Acee Blue Eagle died on June 18, 1959,[3] and is buried in the National Cemetery at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.

Tamara Liegerot Elder published a biography of the artist: Lumhee Holot-tee: The Art and Life of Acee Blue Eagle, in 2006 through Medicine Wheel Press.

At Haskell Indian Nations University, a business administration building is named Blue Eagle Hall in his honor.


  1. ^ a b Wyckoff, 92
  2. ^ Elder, 3
  3. ^ a b c d e Lester, 73
  4. ^ a b c d e Hunt, David C. "BLUE EAGLE, ACEE (1909–1959)". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Chickasaw Family Making Pah Sho Fah (Pashofa) | National Postal Museum". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  6. ^ "Ataloa (Mary Stone McLendon)". The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  7. ^ Brewer, Graham Lee; Tulsa (2019-07-21). "Can Bacone College reclaim its roots as a center for Native art?". Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  8. ^ "Acee Blue Eagle papers". National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives (SOVA), Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  9. ^ "Acee Blue Eagle". Olympedia. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Exhibitions from 1930 to 1939". Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. University of Oklahoma. 1 Nov 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-12-31. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  11. ^ Moran 113
  12. ^ Register to the Papers of Acee Blue Eagle Archived 2014-04-21 at the Wayback Machine, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
  13. ^ a b c McLerran, Jennifer. A New Deal for Native Art: Indian Arts and Federal Policy, 1933–1943 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009), 266.
  14. ^ Alyson Greiner (March 4, 2009). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: United States Post Office Coalgate" (pdf). National Park Service. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) "Accompanying 19 photos, from 2007" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places Inventory.
  15. ^ Lester, Patrick D., The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters (Tulsa: SIR Publications, 1995), 48. ISBN 978-0806199368.
  16. ^ "Stretching the Canvas: Eight Decades of Native Painting". National Museum of the American Indian. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  17. ^ Gregory, Strickland, and Blue Buzzard, 49


  • Elder, Tamara Liegerot. Lumhee Holot-tee: The Art and Life of Acee Blue Eagle. Edmond, OK: Medicine Wheel Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-9754072-1-9.
  • Jack Gregory and Rennard Strickland, editors. Ducee Blue Buzzard, illustrator. American Indian Spirit Tales: Redbirds, Ravens, and Coyotes. Muscogee, Oklahoma: Indian Heritage Association, 1974. ASIN B0006W9L16.
  • Lester, Patrick D. The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters. Norman and London: The Oklahoma University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8061-9936-9.
  • Morand, Anne, Kevin Smith, Daniel C. Swan, Sarah Erwin, Treasures of Gilcrease: Selections from the Permanent Collection (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005), ISBN 978-0-8061-9956-6 (excerpt available at Google Books).
  • Wyckoff, Lydia L. Visions and Voices: Native American Painting from the Philbrook Museum of Art. Tulsa, OK: Philbrook Museum of Art, 1996. ISBN 0-86659-013-7.

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