LOT 281

Carl Oscar Borg


Arizona Navajos

MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

DIMENSIONS: 30 x 34 inches

ESTIMATE: $75,000.00 - $125,000.00

Signed lower right


Additional Information

Private collection, Arizona

Self-taught Swedish painter Carl Oscar Borg was only 24 years old when he landed in Santa Monica, California, as a seaman on the steamship S.S. Arizonan. On leave in town, Borg laid eyes on a cowboy with a sunburnt face, leather chaps with silver buttons, boots with spurs and a belt with a revolver in a holster. That single image lit a fire in his imagination—“the spark of adventure,” Borg would later say. Back on the Arizonan, the seaman served the boat as it steamed up the coast, out to Hawaii and then back to San Francisco with a load of sugar. Once the boat docked, he jumped ship and never looked back. Borg would go on to become a sensation in California for his Western paintings, etchings and woodblock prints; he befriended Phoebe Hearst, mother to businessman William Randolph Hearst; he worked in Hollywood as an art director with Cecil B. DeMille, Samuel Goldwyn and Douglas Fairbanks; and he was a prominent art teacher later in his life. His true love, though, was Native American people of the Southwest. During his lifetime, and well after, he was praised for his sensitive perspective of American Indians and their cultures. He was especially fascinated by the Navajo people, who are the subject of this painting and his 1925 poem titled The Navajos, which complements Arizona Navajos nicely:

Over uplands high
Under blazing skies
Ride the Navajos.
Fierce as the Desert's breath,
Free as the eagle on high
Ride the Navajos.
In rain and storm
Beneath scorching suns
Ride the Navajos.
The last of their race
They shout defiant
As they ride alone,
To the end of the desert’s trail,
Where the sun goes down in
The Western Land,
Where long dead brothers to them
Will raise their hands
Like the souls of men
On the roads of Life…
Ride the Navajos.


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Please note that the first unframed photo is most accurate for color. Framed photographs are to show the frame and are not color corrected to the painting.

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