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Christine Nofchrissey McHorse

Biography to Display: 

 Born 1948 Morenci, Arizona 

 Died 2021 Santa Fe, New Mexico



1963 – 1968  The Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico



Ceramic Potter and Sculptor 



Christine McHorse is best known for hand-built sculptural vessels made of native micaceous clay. Her earliest work was based on traditional Pueblo pottery, which she made for over ten years. In the mid-1990s, McHorse began to create nontraditional one-of-a-kind vessels and sculptures, often of micaceous clay which fired to satin finished black, some with snake and animal motifs and fired using electric kilns.   

McHorse was a Diné (Navajo). She learned her ceramic craft from Lena Archyleta of the Taos PuebloAccording to a 2000 article in Art New Mexico, Christine McHorse considered her parents and siblings as her foremost influences and teachers.  

McHorse was an outspoken activist for Native American artists self-advocating. “She showed us we could come in on our own terms, with grace and integrity.”1 

“Her real strength was her voice.”2 


Public Collections to Display: 

Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado 

National Museum of the American Indian, New York, New York 

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C. 


Bibliography to Display: 

Begaye, Nathan. Free Spirit: The New Native American Potter. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Stedelijk Museum 2006. 

Bishop, Robert, Cate, Barbara., Kogan, Lee., Rosenak, Jan., Rosenak, Chuck. Museum of American Folk Art encyclopedia of twentieth-century American folk art and artists. New York: Abbeville Press, 1990.

Clark, Garth, “Christine Nofchissey McHorse: A Free Spirit.” Ceramics Art and Perception 66, January 2006. 

Clark, Garth, and Mark DeVecchio. Dark Light: The Ceramics of Christine Nofchissey McHorseAlbuquerque NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2013. 

King, Charles S., Peter Held, and Will Wilson. Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest: The Eric Dobkin Collection. Santa Fe NM: Museum of New Mexico Press, 2017. 

Matuz, Roger. St. James Guide to native North American Artists. Detroit MI: St. James Press,1998.   

Rosenak, Chuck, and Janet Rosenak. Contemporary American Folk Art: A Collector’s Guide. 1996. 




Typical Marks

"McHorse" scratched into base of pot. 

Materials: Earthenware
Method: Hand-Built
Surface Technique: Burnished
Courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center
Photo: TMP
Courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: McGee, Donna. "The Marks Project." Last modified April 17, 2023.