Carl Oscar Borg could create any subject in any medium, and do it well. He was most successful and highly regarded during his lifetime, receiving numerous awards and medals. In the annals of American art history, he belongs to the group of artists that includes Joseph Henry Sharp, Ernest Martin Hennings, Walter Ufer, Victor Higgins, and Oscar Berninghaus. He is known for his Southwest Indian portraits in oil, watercolor, etching and woodblock.
Although a native of Sweden, Borg succeeded in preserving America’s cultural heritage by documenting the customs and religious ceremonies of the Native Americans that had been shared with him. He felt a kinship with the West and the people who introduced him to it. Through his paint, canvas and brushes, Borg expressed the unique qualities he found in New Mexico, Arizona, and California, and captured the grandeur of their unusual scenery.
Borg also gained the patronage of Phoebe Hearst, mother of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. It was Mrs. Hearst who made arrangements with the Department of the Interior for Borg to live with the Native Americans. Of this experience, Borg wrote: "The inhabitants of these great solitudes, these limitless horizons, this wilderness of color and form, are marked by an Arcadian simplicity, by a dignity and reserve that I am sure would be hard to find among any other living peoples…" And every summer, while residing in California, Borg would return to the desert to spend time with his many intimate friends among the Indians.