“Zia Bird” Aquatint Etching by Helen Hardin of Santa Clara Pueblo

C4447D-print.jpg

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Helen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter
  • Category: Original Prints
  • Origin: Santa Clara Pueblo, Kha'p'oo Owinge
  • Medium: aquatint etching
  • Size:
    10-⅝” x 13-⅜” impression;
    12-¾” x 15-⅜” paper;
    22” x 24-⅝” framed
  • Item # C4447D
  • Price: $3500

This etching is labeled “Presentation Proof” in pencil.

This etching of a Zia Bird' standing on a thin branch is by Santa Clara Pueblo artist Helen Hardin.  This wide-eyed bird is sleek and appealing, with line work that suggests movement even in a moment of rest. The branch extends out to both sides, meeting the bottom of a large circle.  The viewer might imagine the branch to be the horizon line and the circle to be a rising or setting sun.  Hardin’s work here is, as usual, both stylish and accessible.  “Zia Bird'' was completed on 18 July 1980.  This two-color etching was executed on a copper plate using burnt sienna and burnt umber.  There was an edition of 50 Arabic numbered copies, eight Roman numbered copies, and various proofs.  This one is labeled “Presentation Proof” in pencil.

Presentation Proofs are signed impressions equal in quality to the numbered edition, which are inscribed and presented by the artist to special collaborators, involved in the project whose contributions the artist wishes to recognize. The Presentation Proof is a long-standing tradition in the printmaking profession and provides special collaborators with important samples of their work for their portfolio.

Santa Clara Pueblo artist Helen Hardin, daughter of Pablita Velarde, was primarily known as a painter. In 1979, art dealer Sue Di Maio began encouraging Hardin to explore printmaking. Hardin’s contemporaries—Fritz Scholder and R.C. Gorman, most notably—had been creating lithographs successfully for years, but she believed these artists’ prints to be inferior to their paintings.  She was not excited about the possibility of exploring printmaking. Hardin begrudgingly attended a meeting with Richard Ximenez, master printer and operator of El Cerro Graphics in Los Lunas, New Mexico.  After a lengthy meeting regarding the technical details of aquatint etching and the receipt of a persuasive follow-up letter, Hardin agreed to go to work with Ximenes.  She found herself to be well-suited to the medium and, after her earliest efforts were successes, began to enjoy it. She created and released 23 etchings in total, all during the last four years of her life.

Helen Hardin (1943-1984) Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh or “Little Standing Spruce” was an innovative and influential painter from New Mexico’s Santa Clara Pueblo.  Hardin was born in 1943 to Santa Clara Pueblo painter Pablita Velarde and Caucasian civil servant Herbert Hardin. Inspired by her mother, she began creating and selling paintings as a teenager.  She went in a different direction than her mother and her mother’s peers, creating more contemporary works that depict Native American symbology with striking geometrical patterns and abstract imagery. She died of cancer in 1984, leaving behind her an astounding body of work for her many admirers to enjoy.


Condition: The etching is in excellent condition and is signed in pencil and marked with the appropriate chop marks.  It is framed under a wide mat with multiple interior bands, all of which match the colors of the print and paper perfectly.  An acrylic pane and a simple wood frame complete the presentation.

Provenance: "Zia Bird" Aquatint Etching by Helen Hardin of Santa Clara Pueblo is from a private New Mexico collection

Recommended Reading: Changing Woman: The Life and Art of Helen Hardin by Jay Scott

Relative Links: Santa Clara PuebloPablita VelardeNative American PrintsNative American PaintingsHelen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter

Artist Signature - Helen Hardin (1943-1984) Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh - Little Standing Spruce Santa Clara Pueblo


Helen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter
  • Category: Original Prints
  • Origin: Santa Clara Pueblo, Kha'p'oo Owinge
  • Medium: aquatint etching
  • Size:
    10-⅝” x 13-⅜” impression;
    12-¾” x 15-⅜” paper;
    22” x 24-⅝” framed
  • Item # C4447D
  • Price: $3500

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