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 Juan Nakai  ( - 1973)

About: Juan Nakai


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Lived/Active: New Mexico/Arizona / Mexico      Known for: landscape painting

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Marty Knight

Juan Nakai
I have 3 Juan Nakai paintings that I remember my dad purchasing from Juan himself in 1971 at a trading post in Durango, Co. He was quite taken with the idea that that the artist was using housepaint to paint his pictures. We talked with the artist a bit and he seemed very nice, but on the quiet side. Only 1 of the paintings is signed; it has a title on the back of Shiprock Mountain. Another has no title, but looks like possibly Devils Tower. Another has a title of Sleeping Ute and is apparently from Kimos store. I remember my mom was a little angry that my dad gave the artist money because she thought it would go for alcohol and she was a non-drinker.


oil painting
we recently moved into a we getting ready to leave I saw a painting corner of my eye a painting I asked if I could it have it was a 16"-20"painting of Geronimo.i believe it is the original frame it looks pretty worn the frame I mean. it is also signed juan nakia "63" I really don't have or know a lot about it I would appreciate feedback also maybe the value I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE THAT

Dick Knisley

Jaun Nakai
I have a painting by Jaun dated 8-14-62 it is of Monument Valley with a grass hut with a pony outside, I bought this at an estate sale in Glendale, CA many years ago. It was with many other paintings I bought for almost nothing. It has been hanging in my house in Jackson Hole for years, I love it. My wife sugested I look on the internet about about the artist so that is what brought me here. It is interesting finding out about the artist and his life

Katie Gribnitz

Juan Nakai Paintings and history
Juan Nakai was a personal friend to my grandmother way back in the day as they say. She was a nurse and assisted his family, I am sorry but I dont remember with what, birth, illness, etc. But in friendship he gave her the first of three very beautiful pieces. And later gave her another and a large one in payment for her "services". She was a very talented and wonderful woman who only had good things to say about him. I can not remember it now, but she had like a nickname that she called him instead of Juan. I now have the paintings framed in archival frames with archival glass and matting because they were so special to my grandmother. They are very beautiful. He was an amazing artist; and from the way my grandmother talked, an amazing man.


Juan Nakai
I was recently given 3 of his signed paintings "66". They have the paper backing on them and appear to be in excellent condition. A stamp on the paper backing: The Sherwin-Williams Co. in Farmington, NM and a name printed above that: V Holloway. I have pictures I've taken of them. Does anyone have any information? They are approx 9 3/4 x 13 1/2 in size and framed.


Nakai pastel
Years ago - early 80's, I purchased a very large pastel signed "Nakaidinae" from an elderly Dine gentleman at the Heard Museum Art Sale. He said the artist had given him the picture. It appears to be a self-portrait of the artist eating a meal at a table with a woman's portrait hanging on the wall behind him. There is a NM landscape scene outside a window. The style of the pastel is very 30's realism and is done in bright pastels. Could this be the same "Nakai"?

Mel Flowers

Juan Nakai
I have 4 paintings by Juan Nakai done in 1964. I purchased them in Cortez Colo. I have one of Mexican Hat, Shiprock, Monument Valley and LaSalle Mountains.
I talked to the owner of the Trading Post in Cortez 2 years ago and he and his father had him paint a lot of pictures for them to sell. He would set up behind their bldg and paint away until he had enough money to buy booz.

Lorna Hopkins

Juan Nakai
I also purchased two paintings at a sale in Phoenix, Az. I would think the fingerprints may be interesting to a family member. My paintings are of cliffs and a body of water dated 196l. I was told it was in Gallup, N.M. I asked an artist what she thought of them and she said they were very pedestrian and not worth much at all. I think some of his paintings were better then others. I wish I could see other works by Juan Nakai.

Linda Carroll

Juan Nakai painting
I bought a painting at a yard sale for 1.00 many years ago. It is signed Juan Nakai -66- in the front left corner. It is a beautiful desert sunset scene. It is not on canvas, but the paint crept over to the back of what ever he painted it on. Some of the backing came away from the frame, and two fingerprints are on the frame in the same color as some in the painting. Interesting, but do not know if this is of value to anyone.


Juan Nakai
On 11/02/2006, I posted an entry saying I would ask at the Colorado Historical Society and Denver Art Museum about Juan Nakai's work. I did but didn't respond in this Discussion Board. There was one painting by Juan Nakai (of Chimney Rock)in a traveling exhibit organised by the Colorado Historical Society which focused on textiles from the Harmsen Museum collection which was later acquired by the Denver Art Museum. I checked with the DAM and they found a computer photo of the painting with a note that it had been "removed from the collection" but no other info about who bought it or for how much. I wish there was a better forum for discussions about Juan Nakai than this one for Joey! Thanks for all the info about Juan, I agree with Jim Cook that a talented man died too soon.

Jim Cook

Juan Nakai
A 22x14 desert scene in a modest metal frame recently sold on e-Bay for $50 (valued at $325-450). Personally, I acquired 6 of his paintings (three 22x14 and three 14x11) in the purchase of a condo in New Mexico. I've since sold the condo but still have the paintings, all but one of which are in excellent condition. They all seem to display the interesting northwestern New Mexico in a quiet beauty. It would appear a talented man fell victim to alcohol abuse in his prime.

Kayla Evans

Juan Nakai
My mother was a bail bondslady in Farmington, where we grew up. Juan Nakai was one of her customers, and he gave her 4 of his pastel desert paintings as colateral. These are all in my family. I too have wondered about the value, but have been unable to find anyone with knowledge about him or the paintings. Would appreciate any information anyone has...

val Dobbins

Juan Nakai
I too have a painting signed Juan Nakai-66-. The signature looks very similar to one on e-bay now. But, that painting is a landscape, mine has animals and people and looks to be on top of a mesa. The animals are outlined. Does this sound like something he may have painted. Would like to hear.

beulah nakai

Juan Nakai
I am the daughter of Mr. Juan Nakai. I also wanted to know where I would be able to find his paintings. I have received afew of his paintings when I was a teenager. They are beautiful. He passed on in May 1973.

Lindajo Combrink

Juan Nakai
Juan Nakai drowned in an irrigation ditch near Fruitland, NM at the age of 46. He was a native of Red Rock, AZ. I don't know the exact date of his death but I have a copy of the article about his body having been found. My mother also has one of his paintings that she "bought" from Juan Nakai by buying him a meal in the restaurant where she worked in 1965. He came in wanting to sell it for $5 to buy alcohol and she refused to give him the money, and offered to buy him a meal instead. He left, then returned. She bought him a cup of coffee and a hamburger, as he requested. She added french fries, a slice of apple pie with ice cream and more coffee. Has anyone found out anything about value on his paintings?

Louis Stagner

Juan Nakai
I have a painting of Juan Nakai's of the Ship Rock in northern New Mexico . It is a oil painting and is signed and dated '65 . I was wondering if it has any value and what ever happened to the artist as I too bought it from him personaly back then !! It hangs over my desk so I have loked at it daily for a lot of years and was just curious . Lou


Juan Nakai
IN 1958-1959 I worked at the First National Bank of Farmington, the Shiprock branch. I ordered a painting from Juan Nakai of the Shiprock,
which he painted many, many times. He brought it to me at the bank when he had it finished. He charged me $12.00 . At that time he only painted when he needed money to buy drink. I objected when he told me the price for the painting. I felt it was worth much more. My bank manager was signaling to me to not pay any more than he was asking. When I paid him and he left, my manager said that many of them had agreed not to pay him more than he asked because if he received a lot of money he would not paint until he had drunk up the total sale price. Does anyone know if he is still alive? Sue


Juan Nakai paintings
A few months ago I googled Juan Nakai and found a reference to a Colorado Historical Society exhibition at a Cleveland (?) museum in the 1990s in which his paintings were included with Navajo rugs which were the main focus of the exhibition. I failed to make a copy of this entry and I no longer find it (or recognize it). We recently acquired two paintings from our aunt when she downsized. She got them at a garage sale and knew nothing more about them. They appear to be pastels of the Monument Valley area on a hazy day, not unlike some we have seen there. I hope to ask at the CHS if there is any info about the exhibition around any more, and at the Denver Art Museum, some day if time permits.


Juan Nakai, paintings
I too am interested in the paintings of Juan Nakai. Any information on him would be greatly appreciated. All I really know is that he was in the Farmington area in the 50's.

Mary Dean Hobbs

Juan Nakai
I own some of his paintings, is he related to Joey Nakai? He was from the Farmington, NM area

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