|Oscar was a full-blooded Sioux Indian born on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation amidst the poverty, illness and frustration of reservation life. He began his formal education at the Pierre Indian School in 1933 and completed his high school education in 1938 at the Santa Fe Indian School. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1954 at the University of Oklahoma.
By age 18 he had shown his painting in the Brooklyn Museum Gallery for Living Artist, the San Francisco Civic Art Center, and in galleries in London and in Paris. In 1940 he was assigned to the South Dakota Artists Projects, where he painted the interior dome of the Carnegie Library, followed by ten large murals in the Mobridge auditorium. In 1948, he was commissioned to design murals for the Mitchell Corn Palace, which he continued to design until 1964.
In 1957, he was named Professor of Art and Artist-in-Residence at the University of South Dakota. In 1960, he was named Artist Laureate of South Dakota and he was featured on the popular television program, “ This is Your Life.” In 1970, the United States Department of State sent him on a good will tour to Israel, Lebanon, Cypress, Turkey, Greece, Pakistan, India, Ceylon and Iran to exhibit his works and lecture on the visual arts.
His strongest contributions depict his people’s traditions, legends and beliefs. He has been awarded: Grand Purchase Award, Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, OK 1947; Harvey Dunn Medal in Art 1952; “Artist Laureate of the Middle Border Museum,” 1952; Purchase Award, Denver Art Museum 1953; Mary Benjamin Rogers Award, Museum of New Mexico 1958; Grand Prize, Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, Ok 1959; “Fellow” International Institute of Arts and Letters 1960; Award of Recognition, Foundation of North American Indian Culture, Bismarck, ND 1964; First Award, National Indian Art Show, Bismarck, ND 1963; Golden Bear Award 1978 one of approximately twelve artists to receive this National Achievement Award from the American Indian Art and Cultural Exchange.
His work has been displayed at the:
American Indian Arts Center, New York 1966
Lucien Labaudt Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA 1960
Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City, IA 1960-61
Southwestern at Memphis, Memphis, TN 1961
Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL. 1963
Theodore Lyman Wright Art Center, Beloit, WI 1964
Cheny Cowles Memorial Museum, Washington StateExhibits in Paris, France; London, England and West Germany
*** Several other displays.
Representative American museums exhibiting His Paintings:
Museum of Modern Art, New York City
Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM
South West Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Museum of Fine Arts, Stanford University
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, IL