Original Drawing “Untitled—Taos Pueblo Visitor”


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Hernando Villa (1881-1952)

This marvelous drawing appears to portray a Taos Pueblo man on horseback either arriving at or departing from a village—Taos Pueblo or another village. The blanket wrapped around the head and draped over a shoulder is typical Taos Pueblo style. Additionally, the fringed buckskin trousers are typical of Taos Pueblo clothing.

A commercial artist and painter, Villa had a specialty that was the Old West—landscape, Southwest Indians, and missions, which he did in oil, watercolor, pastel and charcoal. But his most famous work is “The Chief,” emblem of the Santa Fe Railroad. He established a studio in Los Angeles and worked as a commercial artist and illustrator for the Santa Fe Railroad for 40 years. He also did murals including one for the New Rialto Theater in Phoenix, Arizona.

When I first acquired this piece, I had a question regarding the medium of the work. I couldn’t decide if it was a photograph, print or charcoal drawing, so I consulted with a professional photographic appraiser and consultant and she assured me it was not a photograph, then I consulted with a fine art appraiser here in Santa Fe and he said it definitely was an original work of art, not a print. We concluded that the medium was charcoal. It is in original excellent condition and is beautifully framed in a massive dark wood frame.

A card attached to the back of the framing, reads as follows: 

Business Card of John A. Williams 
Agent-Owner of the Hernando G. Villa Art Exhibit 
Box 562 
Westmoreland, Calif. 

“The soul of Hernando G. Villa, Master Artist (1881-1952)—an outstanding collection of paintings left behind. 

“For over 50 years painter of Mexican-Spanish Indian and Western subjects. 

“Creator of Santa Fe RY., Indian Head illustrating ‘The Chief.’ 

“Painter of ‘The Pioneers’ at Citizens Trust and Savings Bank, 736 So. Hill St. Los Angeles. 

“Winner of Gold Medal at Panama-Pacific International World’s Fair Exposition San Francisco 1915. 

“Consultant on Architectural Board for Restoration of California Missions. 

“For years on the faculty of Los Angeles School of Art and Design. ”

Hernando Villa (1881-1952)
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