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Feature in Santa Fean, August/September 2013 issue

Posted on Aug 8, 2013 in Recent News | 0 comments

Scan-cover-for-website-articlePublished online courtesy Santa Fean, August/September 2013 issue

Man of Mystery

Mark Sublette, owner of the Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery on Canyon Road, recently released the second novel in his Charles Bloom murder mystery series, Kayenta Crossing, which follows 2012’s Paint by Numbers. (A third book is due next summer). The story centers on Dr. Carson Riddly, who, not long after setting up his family practice on the Navajo Reservation north of Kayenta, Arizona (one of the conditions of having received an Indian Health Service scholarship in medical school), finds himself called in as coroner on a murder scene. Riddly eventually joins forces with Charles Bloom — an art dealer who owns a gallery in Santa Fe but lives on the reservation with his girlfriend, a talented Navajo weaver — and together the two work to get to the bottom of the crime and other mysterious events.

Kayenta Crossing is illustrated with numerous photos taken by the author. For ordering and other information, visit — Amy Hegarty

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Feature in Western Art Collector, May 2013

Posted on Aug 8, 2013 in Recent News | 0 comments

Scan-copy-cover-for-website2Published online courtesy Western Art Collector, May 2013 issue.

State of the Art: New Mexico

Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery

602A Canyon Road Santa Fe, NM 87501 (866) 894-7451

On July 19 from 4 to 5 p.m. Sublette will be signing copies of Kayenta Crossing, the second installment of the Charles Bloom Murder Mystery series. The new book is set on the Navajo Reservation north of Kayenta, Arizona, where Dr. Carson Riddly begins his family practice stint.

When a murder occurs, everyone becomes a suspect, even the doctor. Riddlv reaches out to art dealer Charles Bloom to help solve the case. Together they must crack the mystery before they become next on the growing list of victims.

As a medical professional, Sublette could relate with Riddly. “There’s no doubt a bit of myself is incorporated into the Carson character,” he says. “I could relate to many of the situations he felt as a fresh young doctor out of residency thrown into the lion’s den of a rural clinic, where you were the only doctor for miles around.” While the books he writes are fiction, 20 years experience as an art dealer has allowed Sublette to see a spectrum of real-life scenarios with dealers and collectors. Photos in Kayenta Crossing were taken by Sublette himself, who adds, “I believe the additional visual references enhance the story line. For me, being surrounded by the geography and the local residences was immensely helpful in writing my books.” The third installment in the series, titled Hidden Canyon is available summer 2014.

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Kayenta Crossing is available to order

Posted on Jun 26, 2013 in Recent News | 0 comments

Kayenta Crossing is available to order

To place an order, call 1-800-422-9382 or email:

Hardcover, 248 pages


ISBN: 978-0-9855448-2-9

Click here to read more

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Squash Blossom Necklaces: A Resurgence of Style

Posted on Jun 4, 2013 in Recent News | 0 comments

by Dr. Mark Sublette


Published online courtesy Western Art Collector, July 2013 issue

All images courtesy Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Santa Fe, NM and Tucson, AZ


Navajo Bisbee Turquoise and Silver Squash Blossom Necklace, circa 1950, 29” long, naja is 3.5” x 3.5”

Navajo Bisbee Turquoise and Silver Squash Blossom Necklace, circa 1950, 29” long, naja is 3.5” x 3.5”

The old adage is wait a while and your parent’s fashion style will come back. This has never been more true than for Native American Squash Blossom necklaces which will be featured at Medicine Man Gallery Santa Fe, in June.

The distinctive feature of the necklace is the crescent-shaped pendant, the naja (NAH-zha) that has its origins from Europe and the Mediterranean.

Navajo Silver and Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace, circa 1920, 1.875” x 2.1875”

Navajo Silver and Turquoise Squash Blossom Necklace, circa 1920, 1.875” x 2.1875”

Both the Spanish and the Plains Indians used the naja to decorate the forehead of horses in the 19th century. The Navajo started making silver-mounted bridles in the 1880s and the naja was soon transformed into decoration for necklaces made from coin silver. The term squash comes from the squash flower often associated with native cultures, though the unique naja design most likely came from pomegranate tree flowers, which originated in Europe.

Simple silver squash necklaces were first made by the Navajo, but not long after the Zuni started making pieces and to a lesser extent the Hopi. The Zuni silversmiths focused on small clusters of turquoise and coral, often daintier in appearance. The Navajo also used turquoise but usually in nuggets or cabochons. There are a large variety of Navajo squash blossom necklaces, and many of these pieces were made in the late 1960s.

While Squash blossoms may have been worn in the southwest since the 1890s, their hey day was the 1ate 1960s and early 1970s. It was a time of free love, the Doors and of course great Squash blossom necklaces flowing over paisley shirts accented with platform shoes.

Many Indian art dealers cut their teeth during this time building careers around the craze. Gilbert Ortega was the king of the Squash Blossom Necklace; he would fly his plane around to his different shops in numerous states trying to keep up with orders.  Prices sky rocked but like any bubble it popped in the early ‘70s as tastes changed and heels got shorter.

Zuni Squash Blossom Necklace with Silver, Turquoise and Spiny Oyster by Frank Dishta (1902-1954), c. 1940, 24” long, Naja is 3.5” x 3.5”.

Zuni Squash Blossom Necklace with Silver, Turquoise and Spiny Oyster by Frank Dishta (1902-1954), c. 1940, 24” long, Naja is 3.5” x 3.5”.

The good news for today’s collectors it the prices for many of the 1960s pieces are much less in today’s dollars than 50 years ago. The pre-1960s pieces are very collectable. In general price structure for a 1930s squash would be in the $2000 to $3000 range and can easily top $8000 for an turn of the century ingot piece. Many coin squash necklaces seen in today’s Indian shops were made in the 1960s, so if you see one with barber head quarters dating from the early 1900s these are usually revival pieces from the 1960s.

The squash blossom necklace collection on exhibit at Medicine Man Gallery will feature examples from 1900s to 1960s with the majority of pieces 1940 and before. The show runs June 1 to July 3 at 602A Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico. For questions or to learn more visit our website or call the gallery at 1-866-894-7451.

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Available on Canyon Road, Santa Fe – Paint by Numbers: A Charles Bloom Murder Mystery

Posted on Dec 12, 2012 in Recent News | 1 comment

by Mark Sublette

Cover painting by Francis Livingston

Hardcover, Copyright 2012, 264 pages

$40.00, Few copies remain

ISBN: 978-0-9855448-0-5

To place an order: or call toll free: 866.894.7451. You can also visit Medicine Man Gallery at 602A Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501


“From the gripping prologue to the twist-upon-twist conclusion, Mark Sublette’s PAINT BY NUMBERS will keep you up nights… unable to stop turning the page!” – – Sandi Ault, best-selling author of the WILD Mystery Series

“Mark Sublette’s first novel is… marvelous. The white art dealer Charles Bloom lives in New Mexico with Indians. His impressive work is constantly taken away by those who go for nothing but money in New York. But Charles Bloom never stops in following great creativity… neither should we.” – – Michael Blake, Dances with Wolves

“A deadly mystery about art and ambition, stretching from Navajoland to New York.” – – Wolf Schneider, abqARTS

“This riveting art mystery, in the tradition of the late Tony Hillerman, successfully develops an intriguing tale that captures the essence of the creative spirit of the Navajo from the Toadlena region.” – – Mark Winter, The Master Weavers and owner of the Historic Toadlena Trading Post

Book Description:

Bloom’s on Canyon Road, specializing in contemporary Native American art, once was a powerhouse gallery in Santa Fe. Then it lost its best-known artist, Willard Yellowhorse. Worse yet was Yellowhorse’s premature death soon after arriving in New York City under very suspicious circumstances.

With Yellowhorse’s final painting STRUGGLE, about to be sold at auction, gallery owner Charles Bloom’s inner voice keeps asking two unrelenting questions: how did Willard Yellowhorse really die, and who if anyone killed him? The answers for Charles lay somewhere deep inside the Navajo nation, Yellowhorse’s ancestral home. Charles will need the help of Yellowhorse’s sister, Rachael, and her grandfather, the nearly 100-year-old medicine man Hastiin Sherman, to unlock the key to Yellowhorse’s death. What Charles Bloom doesn’t realize is the evil coyote spirit that tracked down Yellowhorse is still watching and Charles could be next, if he isn’t careful….

A Charles Bloom murder mystery set in Santa Fe and Indian Country. Perfect for fans of Tony Hillerman.

A conversation with Mark Sublette, author of PAINT BY NUMBERS: A CHARLES BLOOM MURDER MYSTERY

Q: Since you are an art gallery owner in Santa Fe, and so is Charles Bloom, how is he like you and how is he not like you?

A: Bloom deals in strictly contemporary Native material, all modern works. I handle primarily antique Native artifacts and western art. From a dealer standpoint, I’m sure I have felt many of the same emotions working in the art profession.

Q: How much of what you write about in this book is true?

A: I use a few deceased artists and historic facts to help bring scenes to life, but all the events surrounding these characters are fictitious. The geographic locations and timelines are accurate, and the Toadlena Trading Post is real. This is one of the reasons I include my photos–so you know what’s real.

Q: Is Bloom’s much like your Medicine Man Gallery?

A: We’re both located on the 600 Block of Canyon Road! The feel of Bloom’s is similar to many historic galleries on Canyon Road.

Q: How many times have you been to Navajoland, and does it still have hogans without electricity?

A: I love to visit the Navajo Reservation. The land has a starkness that is palatable and in some ways it’s just like it was 100 years ago. There are still hogans and houses without electricity or water. Having said that, young men in hoodies listening to rap are also a part of today’s rez.

Q: Does Canyon de Chelly really have all those old crypts?

A: There are crypts in Canyon de Chelly, but you won’t be able to see them as they are well hidden and not something that would be shared with outsiders.

Q: Is the character of Willard Yellowhorse modeled on any real-life Native painter, like maybe TC Cannon?

A: Willard is no one and everyone. He is the creative power that can be found in all artists. He and his sister Rachael Yellowhorse in my mind embody people I would meet not only on the reservation but at a university. Well educated, yet respecting their culture.

Q: Have you ever met the famous people appearing in this book, like Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, and Jean-Michel Basquiat?

A: They were before my time, but captured my imagination in books and films. Since all the scenes I place them in are figments of my imagination, I sort of turn them into fictional characters, respecting how I would expect them to behave, and bringing some cachet of their times.

Q: Have you ever known an art dealer as unscrupulous as Bernard?

A: Thankfully no…though it’s possible they’re out there.

Q: Have you ever been to an auction at Sotheby’s in New York?

A: Many times.

Q: Do you believe in coyote spirits and evil chindi?

A: Surprisingly I do. There are some places and things we don’t understand, especially when it comes to Native American beliefs, and I don’t take those beliefs lightly.

Q: Did you take all the 22 photos in this book, and which ones are of Navajoland?

A: They are all my images, and mostly of Navajoland. There’s one of New York City, and one is a drawing by Maynard Dixon of Canyon de Muerto done in 1923. The images were mostly taken around the Toadlena Trading Post, Gallup, and Canyon de Chelly.

Q: When is the next Charles Bloom book coming out?

A: The next book comes out summer 2013 and is titled Kayenta Crossing. That book is more focused on the Navajo Reservation, with a new character who’s a young medical doctor, and of course Charles Bloom is back. The story for that particular book has been rolling around in my head for over a decade!

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Feature in The Savvy Collector Blog

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 in Recent News | 0 comments

Published online courtesy The Savvy Colletor Blog, November 27, 2012

Click here to view the original feature

Savvy Collectors appreciate Paint by Numbers

Education comes to you in a fictional read with this murder mystery by Mark Sublette, former physician, art collector and art dealer with galleries in both Arizona and New Mexico.

Paintings by number is a concept guaranteed to cause any art snob you know, me included, to grimace or wince.  The book Paint by Numbers is terrific !!!  Sublette reveals the underpinnings of our industry in the course of the story.  I challenge even the most jaded of our community to find it a satisfying read.

Evidently his next story is already in the works.  While I appreciate mysteries, a savvy collector needs to comprehend the role of each of the players, their interdependencies–be it the artist, the art dealer, the auction house personnel, the critics, etc.

Corinne Cain of


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