(1887 - 1938)
From childhood, LaVerne Nelson Black was fascinated with the Native American culture he experienced in his Kickapoo Valley, Wisconsin, home. After studying at the Chicago Academy of Art, Black moved to the Southwest and created classic Western images that depicted Native Americans. Oscar Berninghaus and William Dunton, who were a part of the Taos Society of Artists, befriended Black and taught him to use realistic, vibrant colors to accompany his energetic, impressionist brush work. During this time Black also completed commissions for the Santa Fe Railway and WPA. The WPA mural, painted for the main U.S. Post Office in Phoenix, portrayed Arizona's progress from pioneering days to the industrialization of the 1930's. Black has since been considered a pillar of Western painters from the early 20th century.