About Marvin Oliver

Marvin E. Oliver (1946-2019) is one of the Northwest Coast’s foremost contemporary Native American (Quinault/Isleta-Pueblo) sculptors and printmakers, who has made strides in the art world for the development and recognition of Native American Contemporary Fine Art.  “My works are formulated by merging the spirit of past traditions with those of the present… to create new horizons for the future”

Oliver’s career spanned over 45 years, working in a wide range of media, including carvings and sculpture, printmaking, blown glass art, and large-scale public artwork installations.  He became renowned for the grand size of his sculptures such as the 26 foot long suspended steel and glass piece ‘Mystical Journey’ at the Seattle Children’s hospital. Oliver’s monumental public works have been installed throughout the state of Washington and the United States, Canada, Japan and Italy.

After a M.F.A at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1973, Oliver pushed his way up the ladder to became a Professor of American Indian Studies and Art at the University of Washington teaching studio classes in carving and formline drawing of the Northwest Coast.  His knowledge of Northwest Coast and Coast Salish Art styles, shared through his own art, enhanced his role as a curator of Contemporary Art at the Burke Museum. In 2019, Marvin received the Charles E. Odegaard Award from the University of Washington in recognition for his leadership in the community on behalf of diversity.

Marvin Oliver’s gifts will inspire and inform artists for generationsArticle in the Indian Country Journal on July 19th, 2019

As a tribute to his life and legacy, we invite you to consider making a gift to a cause that was important to Marvin: support of undergraduate students in the Department of American Indian Studies. Your gift to the Marvin Oliver Memorial Endowed Fund for Undergraduate Students in American Indian Studies will enable the department to provide broad-based direct financial support to undergraduate students.