San Ildefonso Pueblo Painting of Lion and Avanyu [SOLD]


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Tony Pena

The only reference I have found for San Ildefonso Pueblo artist Tony Pena is a Laura Gilpin photograph of him wrapped in the Chief White Antelope blanket that was found on the body of Chief White Antelope after the infamous Sand Creek Massacre in 1864. The blanket resides at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe.

Tony Pena signatureThe Gilpin photograph is published in full color on the cover of Quiet Triumph, Forty Years with the Indian Arts Fund, Santa Fe. The booklet was published by Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, in 1966, on the occasion of an exhibition of the collection of The Indian Arts Fund of the School for Advanced Research.

Pena is not listed in any of the standard reference books of Native American painters at my disposal. Antonio Pena, the husband of Juanita Pena, was a painter of her black-on-black pottery, and it is possible that this painting is by him as he signed his name as Tony on her pottery.

The subject matter of this painting is quite interesting in that it features a lion straddling an Avanyu (water serpent)—one creature being native to New Mexico and the other certainly not native. I am aware of another painting by Tony Pena of a similar subject. Both paintings came from the collection of former Santa Fe resident and dealer Richard M. Howard.

The painting is signed Tony Pena in lower right but not dated. It is in original excellent condition and is beautifully matted and framed.

Provenance: ex. coll. Richard M. Howard, Santa Fe


Tony Pena
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