Fritz Scholder: Figures of Paradox is an extensive exhibition, twelve years after the artist’s death, exploring the brilliance of Scholder’s career as a dynamic Modernist painter and sculptor in the context of his career-long engagement with the human figure. It is historically significant being comprised of paintings, bronze sculpture and works on paper from three of the most prominent private collections of Fritz Scholder works: the Fritz Scholder Estate, the Fritz and Lisa Scholder Collection, and the Romona Scholder Collection. Many of the works were considered by the artist to have such iconic significance that they remained in his private collection and are only now being exhibited for the first time outside of the unprecedented two-city posthumous retrospective presented simultaneously in New York and Washington, D.C. by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in 2008 and 2009.
For Scholder, figural rendition offered an eloquent metaphorical visual language for expression of numerous cultural and psychological ideas. His use of figure was largely conceptual and became more totemic and universal as opposed to individual portraiture. In the space of a stretched canvas or poured bronze, Scholder was able to condense intense expression with his extraordinary facility for color, composition, light, and form to create some of the most poignant and affecting images of his generation.