Part II Newly Discovered Treasures

Post by Charnell

Second photo taken by T. Harmon Parkhurst of his studio

The previous post zeroed in on a photograph of T. Harmon Parkhurst’s studio provided by Marilyn Casabonne. It contained a historical treasure-trove of Quincy Tahoma paintings.  What could be better?  How about two more Parkhurst photos that show many more Tahoma paintings?

Spearing Dinner, 1946. Courtesy of a Private Collector.

In the second photo, the superimposed red number 1 (right side, large painting framed with white matte) identifies a 1946 painting entitled Spearing Dinner.  Originally purchased by Bernalillo trader James Silva and now in the hands of a new owner, it can be seen on page 199 of the book Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Other paintings in this snapshot are similar to ones I have seen (or photographed while researching Tahoma’s art), but there were no additional exact matches.  The same holds true for the third and last photo of the series.

Cropped portion of the third snapshot of Parkhurst's studio

I cropped the final snapshot  so the reader could see the photograph, outlined by a red box, that T. Harmon Parkhurst took of Quincy Tahoma.  This official portrait of the Navajo artist appears on page 184 of the book, where it has a special place of honor in the Epilogue.

Autographed photo of Quincy Tahoma, now known to be taken in 1946, Courtesy of the Family of Richard G. Jones.

Tahoma gave a signed copy to Dick Jones, with whom he became friends during their imprisonment in 1947.  Also, a large color version of the portrait currently is on display at Adobe Galleryin Santa Fe through September 20, courtesy of collector Mark O. Rosaker.  Clearly, this portrait started as a T. Harmon Parkhurst photograph and it was probably colored using Marshall oils (the popular technology in the 1940s and 1950s, folks!)

Portrait of Quincy Tahoma on display at Adobe Gallery, Courtesy of Mark O. Rosacker

It’s possible that Quincy Tahoma himself colored the portrait, since he reportedly did that type of work for photographer Parkhurst. So, thanks to Marilyn Casabonne, several mysteries have been solved by these three photographs of the Parkhurst studio.

  • We now know that they were taken in 1946, as was the portrait of Tahoma .
  • We also know that Quincy Tahoma’s ability to create similar (look-alike) scenes from memory was even more developed and astonishing than we had previously thought.
  • And we know that T. Harmon Parkhurst was one of Tahoma’s best cheerleaders, featuring his watercolors throughout his studio on Don Gaspar Street.  We have known for quite some time that Tahoma’s art sold quickly, so the abundance of his paintings in Parkhurst’s photos speaks to how prolific an artist he was.

How exciting is it to unravel bits and pieces of history from three 8×10 black and white photos  60+ years old?! All rights are reserved for all photos used in this post. If you want to compare these paintings and the Tahoma portrait, you can purchase the book from the Buy Now box on the right hand top of the page. We would love to locate some of the other Tahoma paintings shown in this pictures. Even with more than 250 of Quincy’s paintings featured in Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist, we know that there are many we have never located. Do you have any leads for us? (Reminder: if you are reading this in your e-mail, you will need to click over to the website to respond).

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7 Responses to Part II Newly Discovered Treasures

  1. Kristen says:

    What exciting finds. Can you explain more about the necklace that Tahoma is wearing. My father who cared for Hopi Indians years ago was given a similar one that he then gave to my mother. I always thought it was lovely and wondered about its significance.

  2. Charnell says:

    Kristen, thanks for your comment and inquiry. With regard to the necklace, that’s not an area of expertise of mine but I betcha someone else reading this post can chime in with insights.

  3. Sheryl says:

    Love the “Spearing Dinner” painting – beautiful!

  4. Juston Hubert says:

    We have a Tahoma painting from 1948 titled “Shiprock in the Distance” We would love to take a picture of it and email it to you. We have not seen this painting in any of the Tahoma collections of pictures online. This has been in our family since 1970 when it was given to my parents as a wedeing gift from a close family friend. That family friend frequently traveled to the southwest and was known to be a lover and colector of southwestern art.

  5. Charnell says:

    Justin, we’d love to see an image of your painting! You can email it to If you could, please give me as many details as possible in your email. Lookin’ forward to hearing and seeing more!

  6. Joe Ruiz says:

    I own three large photos taken by T. Harmon Parkhurst that were colored. Is it possible that Quincy Tahoma might have been the artist that did the actual coloring? The photos are, “Indian Maiden,” “The Tortilla Maker,” and “Medicine Man,” which is a photograph of Hasteen Klah who assisted the founder of the Wheelwright Musuem in Santa Fe. The photos taken are Silver Gelatin and are 24″ x 30,” 24″ x 30″ and 16″ x 20.” I would appreciate any info that you might have.

  7. charnell says:

    Joe, Tahoma did indeed color some of Parkhurst’s photos, but we would have no way of knowing whether your three are among them. Do you know the dates of the photographs?

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