In the history of art only a select number of artists distinguish themselves as originators of a personal idiom that reverberates beyond place and time. John Nieto is one of those originals.

Recognized worldwide for his signature blend of expressive colors, dynamic brushwork, and powerful compositions, Nieto is an American artist who speaks in a universal language. His personal story, told here for the first time, is a journey of discovery.

Nieto’s paintings combine reverence for his heritage with a sophisticated worldview. They are also autobiographical. "To be true to yourself does not mean that you can't be a good citizen of the universe as well," he says.

Nieto depicts Native peoples as icons of dignity and unity. His buffalo, bears, and coyotes are symbols of survival. Each is captured in pulsating saturated hues that affirm the vibrant spirituality inherent in all living things. Nieto’s paintings communicate harmony and unity. Put simply, Nieto is happy to be alive, and he shares that joy in this compelling compendium.

For those familiar with Nieto’s work or those discovering it for the first time, Forces of Color & Spirit promises to awaken the senses. Lavishly illustrated with more than 180 color plates, it includes for the first time Nieto’s recent series of twenty-five paintings exploring the chromatic persona of Sioux Chief Sitting Bull. The chapter on limited editions offers documentation for the thousands of collectors who prize Nieto’s prints.

Nieto’s eye-dazzling paintings rank him among the vanguard of contemporary American colorists. As noted by Seth Hopkins, author of the foreword, “in contemplating the art of John Nieto one is faced with a question that has haunted art critics for centuries: Who is the originator and who are the copyists? In this case the answer is simple. Amid a sea of copyists, John Nieto is an American original.”


Susan Hallsten McGarry earned her master’s degree in art history from the University of Minnesota and served as editor-in-chief of Southwest Art magazine from 1979 to 1997. She has chronicled the lives and interpreted the art of countless contemporary artists in books, catalogs, and articles. Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she is administrative director of the national painting group Plein-Air Painters of America and is active in the local art community, including ARTsmart, a nonprofit that funds art materials and scholarships for Santa Fe’s youth.

ISBN 978-1-934491-15-7
September, 2009
15 x 13”
180 color plates
Hardcover , 180 pages
Trade Edition: $125
Deluxe Edition (300) with giclČe (Navajo): $400
Collector’s Edition (25) with original painting (Sitting Bull): $8500
Published by Fresco Fine Art Publications, llc
Distributed by Ventana Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM

John Nieto, Self-Portrait with Fancy Dancer (2009),
acrylic, 60 x 48, detail on the cover.