Fritz Scholder (1937-2005) was a painter and sculptor who was primarily based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Scottsdale, Arizona. Much of his artwork is associated with the Southwest and is perhaps best known for his paintings of Western and Native American themes. Scholder was born in Breckenridge, Minnesota, and grew up near a reservation where his father was an Indian Affairs official. He identified as French, German, and Native American and was a registered member of the Luiseño tribe. Scholder has degrees in art from Sacramento State University (BA) and the University of Arizona (MFA). At Sacramento State, he studied with painter Wayne Thiebaud. Scholder taught at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe from 1964 to 1969. In 1996, he received the Visionary Award from the Institute of American Indian Arts, an organization that again honored him in summer 2001.
Scholder is an honoree and board member of the American Academy of Achievement. His works are in many major museum collections, including New York's MoMA, SAAM, Biblioteque Nationale (Paris), Walker Art Center, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.