Gerald Nailor, Sr

Gerald Nailor, Sr. was a Navajo Studio painter.  He was born in 1917 in Pinedale, New Mexico.  His Navajo name is Toh Yah (Walking by the River).  He attended the Santa Fe Indian School and studied art under Dorothy Dunn.

He married a nurse who was working at the Santa Fe Indian Hospital After they were married, they moved to Picuris Pueblo, Northern New Mexico.  They had five children.  Their son Gerald Nailor developed love for art at an early age under his father's influence.  His son also attended the Santa Fe Indian School and became a renowned artist.

After studying under Dunn, Nailor spent a year studying with Kenneth Chapman and the Swedish muralist, Olaf Nordmark. In 1937, Nailor and his good friend Allan Houser, a Chiricahua Apache
painter and sculptor, set up a studio in Santa Fe.  Nailor painted and and worked on his silkscreen prints. 

Nailor founded "Tewa Enterprises" with Harrison Begay, his fellow-artist and classmate.  Tewa Enterprises specialized art publishing in Native American art and became known for the high quality of silkscreen prints.

In 1942, Nailor was chosen from thousands who applied for the job to paint a mural for the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock, Arizona.  The mural is to depict the history of the Navajo people.  The building and its mural was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2004.

Nailor's works are exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of the American Indian and the Denver Art Museum.

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