In 1992 President George Bush awarded Allan Houser the National Medal for the Arts, culminating a lifetime of achievements and awards which began with the selection of his work for exhibition at the 1936 New York World's Fair. In 1938 he received a major mural commission for the Department of Interior Building in Washington, D.C., and in 1939 his paintings were shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1948 he completed his first major sculpture, a commission for the Haskell School in Lawrence, Kansas. In 1954 he was recognized by the French government as they bestowed on him the Palmes d'Academique for his unique contribution as an artist. After retiring from a 25-year teaching career, he served in 1979 as the Artist-in-Residence at Dartmouth College. He was honored in 1985 with an induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and in 1993 he was awarded the Prix de West from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Also in 1993 he received the prestigious Ellis Island Award, and in that same year a permanent sculpture garden was dedicated in his name at the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe.
For over five decades Allan Houser's work was featured in gallery and museum exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. In 1992, the same year he received the National Medal for the Arts, a major retrospective exhibition was organized by the Museum of New Mexico and toured throughout the United States. While Allan Houser passed into the spirit world in 1994, his work lives on and has since been featured at the White House Sculpture Gardens and in international museum exhibitions.
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