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Maria Martinez, Tewa, San Ildefonso Pueblo

Biography to Display: 

1887Born, San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico

1980Died, San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico

 

Maria Martinez learned pottery techniques by watching her aunt Nicolasa Pena make pots. She is known for black on black highly burnished traditional Native American pots that were decorated by her husband, Julian and, after his death, other family members.

Her husband, Julian, worked on an excavation in 1908 led by Edgar Lee Hewett, a professor of archaeology and the director of the Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe. Julian brought shards of black pottery to Maria, who was eager to reproduce the finish. In 1918, after much experimentation to successfully recreate black on black pottery, Maria discovered that smothering the fire surrounding the pottery during the firing process caused the smoke to be trapped, and, in turn, the carbon in the smoke caused the pottery to turn to a black ash color. Maria used this discovery to create the black on black pottery for which she is so well known.

Maria nearly always collaborated; first with Julian, who learned to decorate the pots she made, which he did until his death, after which other family members took over his role.

 

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York

Amerind Foundation, Dragoon, Arizona

Amon Carter Museum of Art, Fort Worth, Texas

Arizona State Museum, Tucson, Arizona

The Autry Southwest Museum of the American Indian, Los Angeles, California

Cincinnati Art Museum, Cinncinnati, Ohio

Cleveland Museum of Fine Arts, Cleveland, Ohio

Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio

Dartmouth College Collection, Hanover, New Hampshire

Denver Museum, Denver, Colorado

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.

Museum of Northern Arizona, Katherine Harvey Collection, Flagstaff, Arizona

Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, New Mexico

School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.

University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Yale Universtiy Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Hyde, HazelMaria Making Pottery: The Story of Famous American Indian Potter Maria MartinezSanta Fe, NM: Sunstone Press, 1992.  

Marriott, Alice and Margaret Lefranc. Maria: The Potter of San Ildefonso (Civilization of the American Indian Series)Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987.

Peterson, Susan and Francis H. Harlow. The Living Tradition of Maria Martinez. NewYork, NY: Kodansha USA, 1992.

Spivey, Richard L. and Herbert Lotz. The Legacy of Maria Poveka Martinez. Santa Fe, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press, 2003.

 

 

Typical Marks
1934
ca. 1940
1945-1955
ca. 1957
Vase
Date: 1934
Form: Vase
Materials: Local Clay
Method: Coiled
Surface Technique: Burnished, Slip
Everson Museum of Art Collection
Photo: John Polak
Everson Museum of Art Collection
Photo: John Polak
Shallow Bowl
Date: ca. 1940 or earlier, decoration attributed to Julian Martinez
Form: Bowl
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Burnished, Slip
Everson Museum of Art Collection, gift of the Pueblo Indian Arts and Crafts Market, 1941
Photo: John Polak
Everson Museum of Art Collection, gift of the Pueblo Indian Arts and Crafts Market, 1941
Photo: John Polak
Bowl
Date: 1945-1955
Form: Bowl
Materials: Local Clay
Method: Coiled
Surface Technique: Burnished, Slip
Everson Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Beadel
Photo: John Polak
Everson Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Beadel
Photo: John Polak
Small Bowl
Date: 1950 to 1959, decorated by Santana Martinez
Form: Bowl
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Burnished, Slip
Everson Museum of Art Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Francis P. Maloney, 1978
Photo: John Polak
Everson Museum of Art Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Francis P. Maloney, 1978
Photo: John Polak
Vessel
Date: ca. 1957
Form: Vase
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Burnished
Everson Museum of Art Collection, Gift of Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation, 2009
Photo: John Polak
Everson Museum of Art Collection, Gift of Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation, 2009
Photo: John Polak
Vessel
Form: Vessel
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Coiled
Surface Technique: Burnished
Crocker Art Museum, promised gift of Loren G. Lipson, M.D.
Crocker Art Museum, promised gift of Loren G. Lipson, M.D.

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified May 13, 2018. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/martinez