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 Narciso Platero (Ha So Deh) Abeyta  (1918 - 1998)



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Lived/Active: New Mexico / Mexico      Known for: mod figure and Indian genre painting, silversmith

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BIOGRAPHY for Narciso Abeyta
1918 (Canoncito, New Mexico)

New Mexico / Mexico

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mod figure and Indian genre painting, silversmith

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted September 2001, is from Carole Le Beau.

Narciso Platero Abeyta
Indian Name: Hoskiel Ha So Deh, Fiercely Ascending
Tribe: Navajo
Signature: Ha So Deh, Ha So De
Occupation: silversmith, boxer, job placement interviewer & vocational counselor, interpreter and artist

Ha So De was born Dec. 15, 1918 in Canoncito, New Mexico.  He was the son of Pablita and Narciso Abeyta.  He was married to Silvia until he died of a stroke June 22, 1998, at the age of 79.  He had six children, including artist Tony Abeyta and potter, Elizabeth Abeyta.

Abeyta was a code talker during World War 11, part of a group of Native American's that conveyed sensitive encrypted information across enemy lines in the Pacific. Navajo Code Talkers remained a classified top secret of World War II until 1968. Although they played an essential role in the defense in this country, Code Talkers were not recognized for their heroic contribution until 1981 when President Ronald Reagan publicly praised them for their dedication to duty and service during the war.

Narciso's death came five months after the passing of Carl Gorman, the Oldest Code Talker in World War 11.  Gorman's son, R.C. Gorman, sculpted a monument to the Code Talkers, which can be seen in Phoenix, Arizona..

Ha So De attended the Santa Fe Indian School in 1939, and studied under Dorothy Dunn.  She later selected one of his paintings for the cover of her book, American Indian Painting.  He also had a scholarship to the Sumerset Art Institute, Williamsburg, Virginia in 1940.

He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico in 1953 and studied under Raymond Jonson.

Medium: Tempera
Murals Commissioned: Santa Fe Social Science
Classroom, 1934; Maisel's Indian Trading Post,
Albuquerque, N.M., 1939.

Narciso was a semi-finalist in the Golden Gloves Competition (Boxing) in Chicago, Illinois in 1953.  "It is recorded that Abeyta drew his first creations on canyon walls. Approximately 32 years later, in 1961, his work was published in Art in America. An excellent painter with a unique style, his production has suffered because of shellshock in World War 11." Jeanne Snodgrass, American Indian Painters,1968

Biography from Adobe Gallery:
Narciso Platero Abeyta, Ha So De, Fiercely Ascending (1918-1998)

Ha So De began his art career at the early age of 11 by drawing his first creations on canyon walls on the Navajo Reservation. By age 32 he was published in Art in America. He developed a markedly unique style of broad brush strokes and flowing lines, at times appearing almost nonchalant. He outlined his figures in colorful bands, reminiscent of multiple borders on the Navajo rugs he must have seen the women weaving as he grew up on the reservation. He seemed unconcerned with small detail but only with the sweep and dash of movement in free spirited scenes. His was a positive art.

Ha So De studied at the Santa Fe Indian School, and after World War II, at the University of New Mexico, where he studied with the famed Modernist painter Raymond Jonson. During World War II, he was one of the famed Code Talkers.

He garnered many prizes for his work, notably at the New Mexico State Fair, Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, Gallup Ceremonials, at Philbrook Museum, and the Fine Arts Gallery in San Diego. He has been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe.


Southwestern Indian Painting, a Changing Art, by Clara Lee Tanner. University of Arizona Press, 1957.

American Indian Painting of the Southwest and Plains Areas, by Dorothy Dunn. The University of New Mexico Press, 1968.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

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