Acee Blue Eagle was an artist, poet, dancer, teacher, and celebrity. Born Alex C. McIntosh in 1907, Blue Eagle attended Indian schools in Anadarko, Nuyaka, and Euchee, Oklahoma, and the Haskell and Chilocco Indian schools. Advanced study came at Bacone Indian College and the University of Oklahoma. At the latter, he studied with Oscar B. Jacobson. Privately he studied with Winold Reiss. Discrepancies exist in the records regarding his early life: born in either Anadarko or Hitchita, Oklahoma; he's cited as both Pawnee-Creek and 5/8 Creek without any Pawnee blood; his mother is either Mattie Odom, the first wife of Solomon McIntosh or Ella Starr, McIntosh's second wife.
A prolific painter who, for the sake of authenticity, carried out research in libraries and museums, Blue Eagle was an outstanding American Indian artist of the 1930s-1950s. His paintings hung in many exhibits, including the Exposition of Indian Tribal Arts, 1932-1933; International Art Exhibition of Sport Subjects at Los Angeles, 1932; Chicago Century of Progress Exposition, 1934; a one-man show at the Young Galleries in Chicago; National Exhibition of Art at the Rockefeller Center in New York, 1936; a one-man show at the Washington, D.C., Arts Club, 1936; Museum of Modern Art, 1941; Northwest Art Exhibition at Spokane, Washington, 1944; a one-man show at the Gilcrease Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1953; An Exposition of American Indian Painters in New York, 1955; and a one-man show at the Philbrook Art Center in Tulsa, 1957. Between 1946 and 1965, over fifty galleries hung his paintings. Some pieces are among the permanent holdings of many institutions.
In 1934, Blue Eagle joined the Work Projects Administration (WPA) Public Works of Art Project, painting murals in public buildings. In 1935 at Oxford University, he participated in a program of the International Federation of Education and lectured on Indian art. A tour of Europe followed. He taught at Bacone Indian College from 1935-1938 where he founded the art program and became Director of Art. He also taught at the University of Kansas extension division in 1949 and Oklahoma State Technical College beginning in 1956. During World War II, he served in the United States Army Air Force; and, following the war, he spent a few years attempting to get into the movies. During 1946-1952, he was married to his second wife, a famous Balinese dancer, Devi Dja, and became involved in her career, an involvement that was briefly reflected in his art. However, Dja and Blue Eagle divorced and Blue Eagle lived with Mae Wadley Abbott for the last years of his life. During the 1950s, he had a television show for children on a Tulsa-Muskogee station. Acee Blue Eagle died on June 18, 1959 of a liver infection.
Martindale, Rob. Muskogee Paying Tribute to Blue Eagle. Biographical/Genealogical data, Box 1, Acee Blue Eagle Collection, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
West, Juanita W. 1967. Acee Blue Eagle: A.C. McIntosh. Biographical/Genealogical data, Box 1, Acee Blue Eagle Collection, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Born August 17, 1907 on the Wichita Reservation, north of Anadarko, Oklahoma
Graduated Chilocco High School
Attended Bacone College, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State Tech
Toured United States and Europe giving lecture-exhibition program, "Life and Character of the American Indian"
Established and headed art department at Bacone College at Muskogee
Exhibited at the National Exhibition of Art, Rockefeller Center, New York
World War II, U.S. Air Force (Army)
Free-lance work in New York and Chicago
Artist-in-residence at Oklahoma Tech
Conducted TV program, Muskogee, Oklahoma Toured U.S. West Coast exhibiting and lecturing about ways to improve TV programs for children
Named Indian-of-the-Year by the American Indian Expostion at Anadarko, Oklahoma