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Sold at Auction: Acee Blue Eagle

Alias: Laughing Boy Che Bon Ah Bu La Lumhee HolatteeAlex C. McIntosh


Acee Blue Eagle (17 August 1907 – 18 June 1959) was a Native American artist, educator, dancer, and Native American flute player, who directed the art program at Bacone College. His birth name was Alexander C. McIntosh, he also went by Chebon Ahbulah (Laughing Boy), and Lumhee Holot-Tee (Blue Eagle), and was an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Alexander C. McIntosh was born north of Anadarko, Oklahoma on August 17, 1907; however, his birth year is also given as 1909. His father was Solomon McIntosh, and his mother was Martha "Mattie" McIntosh. His Muscogee Creek great-grandfather served as a chief for 31 years.

Blue Eagle studied Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, and then Chilocco Indian Agricultural School, where he earned his high school diploma in 1928.He began college at Bacone College in Muskogee and then completed his BFA degree at University of Oklahoma (OU) in Norman in 1932. While at OU, Blue Eagle studied painting under Oscar B. Jacobson, known for popularizing “Flatstyle” painting.

Blue Eagle served for three years in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II.

Art career: His work was part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1932 Summer Olympics.

In 1935, Blue Eagle was invited to give a series of lectures on American Indian art at Oxford University in England. By 1938, his work had become nationally recognized, and he had a solo exhibition at the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City.

From 1936 to 1937, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman exhibited the solo show, Acee Blue Eagle, Bacone, water-colors. In the 1940s, he created a number of works for his friend, the collector Thomas Gilcrease. Blue Eagle gained worldwide fame during his lifetime, and his two-dimensional paintings hang in private and public galleries all over the world.

Blue Eagle was well known for painting large interior murals, some of which are still preserved in Oklahoma. In 1934, he painting murals for the Federal Art Project in 1934. One of Acee's murals was in the dining hall of the USS Oklahoma (BB-37). The Public Works of Art Project commissioned him to paint two murals for classrooms in the health and physical education building of Oklahoma College for Women, now the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, in Chickasha, Oklahoma. He completed PWAP murals at other Oklahoma colleges, including one in the auditorium of Central State College (now University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond) and on in the administration building of Northeastern State Teachers' College (now Northeastern State University in Tahlequah).

Another of his WPA mural, Seminole Indian Scene (1939), large interior oil on canvas, is still on display at the U.S. post office in Seminole, Oklahoma. For the U.S. Post Office in Coalgate, Oklahoma, Blue Eagle painted the acrylic Women Making Pishafa, or Indian Family at Routine Tasks[citation needed] in 1942, which was commissioned by the Section of Painting and Sculpture. Fred Beaver, a Muscogee Creek/Seminole artist, restored Blue Eagle's Coalgate mural in 1965.

Personal: Blue Eagle's cousin was painter Solomon McCombs (Muscogee/Seminole). Another cousin, Howard Rufus Collins, painted under the name Ducee Blue Buzzard, as a parody of Acee's name.

Death and legacy: Acee Blue Eagle died on June 18, 1959, and is buried in the National Cemetery at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.

Tamara Liegerot Elder published a biography of the artist: Lumhee Holot-tee: The Art and Life of Acee Blue Eagle, in 2006 through Medicine Wheel Press.

At Haskell Indian Nations University, a business administration building is named Blue Eagle Hall in his honor.
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