"Taos Indian," also called "Fat John," is a woodcut created in 1927 by American artist Howard Cook (1901-1980). It is pencil signed, titled, and annotated "imp." It was printed by the artist in an edition of 50 on ivory wove paper measuring 12-7/8 x 10-1/2 inches. A reference for this image is Duffy 65.
The model for this woodcut was John D. Lujan (Luhan), the younger nephew of Antonio "Tony" Luhan (Lujan), who courted and married the heiress Mabel Dodge. Both John and Tony were Tewa Indians from the Taos Pueblo. John's nickname in Taos was "Fat John." Cook depicts him here in full Native American dress, enthroned on a chair covered by a blanket.
Howard Norton Cook, painter, printmaker and illustrator, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1901. His studies began at the Art Students' League in New York in 1920 with a $500 scholarship. After traveling for a time throughout Europe, he re-enrolled at the Art Students' League and was introduced to printmaking by Joseph Pennell.
Cook traveled to Santa Fe in 1926 and, within the year, moved to Taos where he quickly became a part of the artistic community. There he met and wed Barbara Latham, printmaker and painter. Cook returned to New York in 1928 and soon became friends with Carl Zigrosser, director of the Weyhe Gallery and foremost authority on prints. With the help of Zigrosser, Cook was able to exhibit his work and, in 1931, he received the first of two Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships. In 1949, he was elected Academician of the National Academy of Design.
Cook became a major American artist with a roster of exhibitions too lengthy to note here but his work is in the British Museum; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; the Harwood Museum of Art of the University of New Mexico; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.