Three Generations of San Ildefonso Pueblo Pottery
Three Generations of San Ildefonso Pueblo Pottery:
Maria & Julian Martinez; Santana & Maria; Maria & Popovi Da;
Barbara Tahn-moo-whé (Sunbeam) Gonzales
The three generations of the Martinez family of potters demonstrates the innovation and change in Native America art of the early 20th century. The influence of Western cultural values on Pueblo artistry led to pottery as an art form rather than vernacular object. The concept of an individual as artist was introduced and signatures began to appear on pottery.
Maria Martinez is considered today as she was in the early 20th century, one of the best Pueblo artists of her time. Each of her beautifully balanced vessels was created with out the use of a potter's wheel and was eventually painted by others in her family. Initially her husband, Julian painted motifs such as the feather patterns he saw on ancient Mimbres pottery shards. Later, he drew on his own design vocabulary, including his version of the avanyu or plumed water serpent. After Julian's death, his legacy was continued first by a daughter-in-law, Santana, and then by a son, Popovi Da. The contemporary artist, Barbara Tahn-moo-whé (Sunbeam) Gonzales is the great-grand daughter of Maria and Julian Martinez. She continues the family tradition of innovation with her sienna on black pottery.