15 Pueblo pots, considered, or 16 artists and their work
I recently became aware, or it drifted to the front of my mind, and to the top of my agenda today, although it took me until about 3 p.m to address it, a certain collection of 15 pots that to my knowledge became property of the DeYoung Museum of San Francisco in late 2013. They are part of the Paul and Barbara Weiss Collection of Pueblo Pottery. These 15 items bring the total of Weiss pots at the DeYoung to 59. (The original gift in 2007 was 32 pieces, 12 more, mostly minis were added in 2010; these 15 mostly or all black, joined that group in 2013. If you visit the museum this week, you will see about 12 of the 65 — I was there recently, mainly to see the Turner exhibit. The Weiss pots are on the first floor, past the giant Strontium German Painter(Gerhard Richter, of course; it’s a giant mural that looks like a photograph; it’s a blow-up of a molecule), on the way to the Saxe Glass Collection. Paul and Barbara Weiss knew or know George and or Dorothy and in some ways their favorites followed each other to SFfams.
19. SANTA CLARA BLACKWARE BOWL PRE-1940 UNKNOWN ARTIST
70. SAN ILDEFONSO DESIDERIA MARTINEZ
Desideria Montoya Sanchez (1889-1982) San Ildefonso
We call this circa 1960 beauty glossy black ware ceramic vessel with painted feather motiff, sometimes also “black on black”; or a mix of matte and glossy:
It’s about 18 inches high.
83. SANTA CLARA CHRISTINA NARANJO WEDDING VASE
Christina Naranjo (1891-1980), Santa Clara
I will have to look up the relationship between Christina Naranjo and Jody Naranjo; I know that Jody Naranjo is related to Jody Folwell, although Susan Folwell is more her peer, the same generation. That’s my Mom in the background, Barbara Weiss. The photos are by Sarah Hogarty.
This is known as a wedding vase It’s about 13 inches high. It’s from about 1972, although my parents probably bought it in the 1990s. We used to have all the provenance details quite handy and well-organized but I’m not sure that’s so true today. Likewise, it’s my impression that for a minute there the DeYoung would let you access this type of thing — items in the collection but not on view — but I’ve had less luck with that recently. You can ignore the little “83” in the foreground. This is one of the first 30 or so pots they liked. I think that’s an “avanyu” or snake motif carved around the base.
89. SANTA CLARA BOWL C. 1890 UNKNOWN ARTIST
(Ghent has this as “1900-1920”)
Here’s one that is from early 20th century and pre-dates the practice of the maker signing his or her (usually “her”) work.
118. SAN ILDEFONSO DORA TSE PE BLACK BOWL, INCISED
Dora Tse Pe (b. 1939) San Ildefonso
This one is incised (‘sgraffito”) with red pigment rubbed into the carved area. I think they are San I maidens:
144. SANTA CLARA JODY AND SUSAN FOLWELL BLACK/BROWN W/GOLD LEAF
Jody Folwell (Santa Clara)
Susan Folwell (Santa Clara)
This is a mother-daughter collaboration:
152. SANTA CLARA TERESITA NARANJO BLACK CARVED POT
Teresita Naranjo (1919-1999) Santa Clara
154. SANTA CLARA JUDY TAFOYA BLACK CARVED POT
Judy Tafoya (b. 1962) Santa Clara
a)When Paul and Barbera first started collecting pueblo pottery, besides being a fun hobby to work on together, they thought of it as a type of exercize to stay sharp, the “use it or lose it” mentality — I remember when it was new to them and they found it satisfying to be able to recreate or recite the details of genealogy — of who learned to make pottery from whom — after Dillingham. The family copy of this book has little dots next to the creators’ names on the charts:
and I’m borrowing from “Ohioan” to crib it as such:
Hopi-Tewa –The Chapella Family; The Nampeyo Family; The Naasie Family
Acoma Pueblo –The Chino Family; The Lewis Family
Zia Pueblo — The Medina Family
Cochiti Pueblo — The Herrera Family
Santo Domingo Pueblo — The Melchor Family; The Tenorio Family
Santa Clara Pueblo — The Chavarria Family; The Gutierrez Family; The Tafoya Family
San Ildefonso Pueblo — The Gonzales Family; The Martinez Family
b) ok, 24 hours later I have 13 pots pictured, although some of them have a second shot or detail. There’s 18 potters referenced, because some our by a team. There’s two items referenced,but not necessarily shown, because some are unsigned, the two oldest items (although there is a dispute, by about 30 years, about how old one is). I should probably reference what makes what “black”. I hope to link to the artists’ sites, and give their year of birth, although especially for women they don’t appreciate this. There’s one head shot of the individual. I’d love it if an actual scholar wanted to take an interest in this, which is a microcosm of at least Santa Clara pottery; also, how far geographically is San I from Santa Clara?And how long until people -scholars, collectors, fans, the artists themselves– can see these and or verify my claim that these are in the museum? Can we access these online, I mean the DeYoung site?
c) Do people confuse the Weisel Collection and the Weiss Collection, both at DeYoung? And what does it mean that the museum claims that the Weisel gift, of 206 objects all in, includes money that can be used to further research the holdings?
d) San Ildefonso and Santa Clara are indeed near each other, although I don’t know if there is a technical or cultural reason their typical pottery are similar; I’ve never been to either place. They are both about 20 miles northwest of Santa Fe, nearer to Espanola. There are 19 pueblos in New Mexico. Most and maybe all make pottery, among other arts and traditional activities. (see also: pottery from Arizona, for example, by Hopi). I have a rough sense of the distance between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, but less so between Santa Fe and any pueblo. I have a sense of the distance between the Bay Area (SF, San Jo) and Santa Fe, by plane, or of its character. But I have not been out to the pueblos, or the casinos, except 40 years ago we took a trip by motor home and visited Hopi territory, i.e. I was 10 years old. (And we noticed Katchina dolls and rugs, but didn’t take much note if we saw any pottery). Link.
PoMo not Pomo or e) A little off topic, yet timely to ask if there are more black pueblo pot-makers or Pintupi line painters, although it would be better if I were talking in that case about Acoma fine line versus Pintupi???
f) certainly Maria Martinez merits entire books not footnotes here but I did take and recommend you do too, an your earliest convenience 25 minutes to view this 1970s educational film showing Maria and her son Popovi Da firing a batch of about 30 pots and plates. If I said “glossy” above I meant “highly polished” although she says “high polish” duly noted. Director Rick Krepela, it may also be available in a 45 minute format on the leading portal:
I thought I saw Robert Nichols name in the credits, as technical advisor, which would make perfect sense since before opening his Santa Fe gallery he was a producer for the National Parks Service. I should really read the Alice Marriott book.