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 Beatien (Little No Shirt) Yazz  (1928 - )



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Lived/Active: Arizona      Known for: figure, genre-ceremonial dance, animal in landscape, Indian

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Ad Code: 3
Beatien Yazz
from Auction House Records.
Untitled (Antelope)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Beatien Yazz

Indian Name: Beatien Yazz (Little No Shirt)
A.K.A.: Jimmy Toddy

Born March 5, 1928 near White Ruins, AZ. Son of Desbah and Joe Toddy

Military: U.S. Marine Corps, Code Talker, World War II (South Pacific and China Theaters)

Education: Santa Fe; Ft. Wingate; Mills, 1949 under Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Chicago Art Institute

Occupation: Navajo Police Department, Fort Defiance, Arizona; Carson Indian School art teacher, illustrator, and professional painter.

Medium: oil, acrylic, casein, tempera, pencil, pen & ink, pastel, and prints

Several books are based on his life and career, and he has been featured in numerous publications. He has won awards at every major showing of Indian art
throughout the United States.

The artist was drawing and writing with crayons at eight years of age. Sallie and Bill Lippencot, operators of Wide Ruins Trading Post, influenced him most by recognizing and encouraging his talents. While still a student, he sometimes worked in oils from a model. Today Beatien prefers to paint animals and people, not landscapes, in the casein medium. (Jeanne Snodgrass, "American Indian Painters).

Beatien Yazz stated that he had been "painting since age eight," a long career in art that spanned over a fifty-year period. "I established myself nationally and
internationally. In addition to my three oldest sons, Irving, Marvin, and Calvin (QQ.V.), I have three other children entering the field of art; my daughter, Francis Toddiy (Q.V.), who has been painting since she was ten, Jimmiy, Jr., and Orland Toddy. They are eleven through twenty-two years of age." (Artist, Personal Correspondance 1991).

In recent years the artist's eyesight has deteriorated, and he has only peripheral vision. According to his long-time friend, Sallie Lippencott Wagner, he has glaucoma, and it has progressed too far to be treatable. He continues to paint, but only in a limited way.

Compiled by Carole Le Beau, 1999
Patrick Lester, The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters

Biography from Adobe Gallery:
Beatien Yazz, Little No Shirt (Jimmy Toddy) was born in 1928 on the Navajo Reservation.  Yazz showed promise as an artist very early.  At an early age, Yazz met the Lippencotts, traders at the Wide Ruins Trading Post, and they made available to him scraps of paper and other equipment so that he might practice in color.

Yazz was also the subject of Alberta Hannum's books Spin a Silver Dollar and Paint the Wind, and his works were used as illustrations.

He served in the U.S. Marines in World War II and was a member of the famed Navajo Code Talkers.  Following the war, he returned to the reservation and began to paint in earnest.  He specialized in subjects familiar to him in his daily life on the reservation. He has been eminently popular with collectors since the 1950s.

Beatien Yazz is now suffering from severe eye problems.  The medical doctors have not been able to determine what the problem is.  A Navajo Medicine Man said it is because he once painted the Navajo sacred Yeibichai.  To be cured, Yazz must have a purifying ceremony performed by the Medicine Man.  This is very expensive and Yazz is not yet able to afford it.

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