Published on July 30, 2012 by Amy
Acee Blue Eagle (17 August 1907 – 18 June 1959), also named Alex C. McIntosh, Chebon Ahbulah (Laughing Boy), and Lumhee Holot-Tee (Blue Eagle), was a Muscogee Creek-Pawnee-Wichita artist, educator, dancer, and flute player.
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He was born near Anadarko, Oklahoma, into the Mcintosh family, a family which has given the Creek tribe of Oklahoma many of its chiefs. He studied at Chilocco Indian Agricultural School; Bacone College; University of Oklahoma, Norman; Oklahoma State Technical School, Okmulgee, and Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, where a business administration building is named Blue Eagle Hall in his honor.
Blue Eagle served in the United States Air Corps during World War II. He died on 18 June 1959, and is buried in the National Cemetery at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.
In 1935, Blue Eagle was invited to give a series of lectures on American Indian art at Oxford University in England, and he took Europe by storm. Returning to the United States, he established the Art Department at Bacone College in 1935, and directed the program until 1938. There he helped shaped develop of the Bacone style of painting. In the 1940s he created a number of works for his friend, the collector Thomas Gilcrease. Blue Eagle gained worldwide fame during his lifetime, and his two-dimensional paintings hang in private and public galleries all over the world. Acee was well known for painting large interior murals, some of which are still preserved in Oklahoma. One of Acee’s murals was in the dining hall of the USS Oklahoma. Blue Eagle’s large interior murals in the U.S. Post Office at Seminole, Oklahoma are still on display.
He was elected into the Indian Hall of Fame, Who’s Who of Oklahoma, and the International Who’s Who. He was chosen “Outstanding Indian in the United States” in 1958. Among his many honors, Blue Eagle received a medal for eight paintings at the National Art Museum of Ethiopia, presented by the Emperor Haile Selassie I.
Tamara Liegerot Elder published a biography of the artist: Lumhee Holot-tee: The Art and Life of Acee Blue Eagle, in 2006 through Medicine Wheel Press.
The Muscogee-Seminole artist Fred Beaver was Acee’s second cousin and friend. in 1965, Beaver was hired by the Coalgate Post Office to restore Acee Blue Eagle’s mural, “Women Making Pashofa.” Acee’s cousin, Howard Rufus Collins painted under the name Ducee Blue Buzzard, as a parody of Acee’s name. Besides being an artist and illustrator, Blue Buzzard was a Freemason known for his charity work with children.