Gerald (Toh Yah) Nailor
(1917 - 1952)

Gerald Nailor was one of the most talented Navajo Artists of his era. Born at Pinedale (near Crownpoint, New Mexico) in 1917 of Navajo parents, he went to the Santa Fe Indian School where he was encouraged to develop his artistic capabilities. Later, Olaf Nordmark at the University of Oklahoma mentored him as well. In 1942, Nailor was commissioned to paint the mural in the Navajo Tribal Council House in Window Rock, Arizona; he was also selected to paint several murals in Washington, D.C.

While making a living as a rancher, he married a Picuris woman, Santana Simbola, who bore him three children. Nailor died at thirty-five when he tried to stop a Picuris man from beating his wife near his home at San Lorenzo, Picuris, New Mexico. Nailor was beaten severely, and he died from his wounds in a Taos Hospital on August 13, 1952. His premature death cut short an already stellar artistic career before its time.

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Updated: 12/01/2009
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