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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 her handbuilt 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

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 May 6, 2021.