Born in Roundup, Montana in 1925, Bill Holm began his lifelong involvement with Native American art and culture playing on the sandstone bluffs in the Musselshell valley. After moving to Seattle as a teenager, his interests broadened to include the cultures of the Northwest Coast. Following Army service in the Second World War, he entered the University of Washington, earning a Bachelor's Degree and Master of Fine Arts Degree in painting. After teaching art in the Seattle Public Schools for fifteen years, the publication of his first book Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form (now in its thirteenth printing) led to appointments in the Burke Museum as Curator of Northwest Coast Indian Art and in the Art History Division of the School of Art at the University of Washington.
Bill retired in 1985 after 17 years as a curator and professor. For thirty-two years he had focused on teaching, research and field work among Northwest Coast people. Following his retirement he began a series of paintings, mostly in acrylic, of the Native people of the Plains, Plateau, and Northwest Coast, the areas of his professional expertise. He has always been interested in the materials and technology of Northwest Coast Native cultures, making nearly every kind of object, from full size plank houses, canoes, and totem poles to bead- and porcupine quill decorated clothing of the Plains and Plateau. He has published eight books and many articles on Native Northwest arts and cultures, and has lectured widely in North America and Europe. He has also served as a consultant on Northwest Coast art for many of the world's major museums.
Bill Holm and his wife Marty live in Seattle, Washington. Their daughter Carla lives in Brussels, Belgium and their daughter Karen in Seattle. He can be contacted at: 1027 Northwest 190th Street
Bill Holm in a canoe he made in 1968
photo: Peter J. Fromm
Sun Dogs and Eagle Down: The Indian Paintings of Bill Holm, published by University of Washington Press. ISBN: 0-295-97947-X.