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Acoma Polychrome Historic Jar, circa 1940 [SOLD]

C3991A-acoma.jpg

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  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Acoma Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 8-5/8” height x 11” diameter
  • Item # 26077
  • SOLD

This exemplary olla dates to circa 1940, and is a superb example of the potter's art. As all traditional pottery of that period, this olla was formed of native clay with ground pottery shard temper, rag-wiped white slip, red neck interior, and red-slipped underbody with concave base, typical of Acoma pottery.

The high point of maximum diameter, design elements, execution and a shorter neck are indicative of vessels of this period. The artist chose not to divide the design field into distinct areas separated by division lines, rather, she chose to use the full field to express a single artistic concept, and this she did beautifully.

The underside is signed Acoma, N.M. and with the initials HR in fired-on text and $2.50 in pencil.The rim top and dual framing lines are worked in black paint from a mineral source, which is really dark brown, and are without ceremonial breaks. The fine-line and geometric/curvilinear elements are mineral black on rag-wiped white slip, with additional embellishments in typical orange.

The main elements of design incorporate dual-bird figures, each pair sharing a joint rectangular body. Above and below these dual-bird elements, are stylized bird heads, each with an eye. Artistically, the design on this olla is superb.

The painting is evidence of an outstanding potter. There are some abrasions of the painted area and a couple very small pockmarks. The integrity of the vessel is excellent.  The underside is signed Acoma, N.M. and with the initials HR in fired-on text and $2.50 in pencil.


Condition:  this Acoma Polychrome Historic Jar, circa 1940 is in very good condition with minor surface abrasions

Provenancefrom the collection of a gentleman from Massachusetts, who provided us with the following: “My aunt Bernice M. King received her Master's degree in music and anthropology at UNM in the late '30s. She created the first written notations for NM Pueblo music and choreography as her Master's thesis, and was well known by many pueblo "notables." Afterward, she worked at the Minneapolis Museum of Art in the '40s and was recruited by Dr. Inverarity as his co-director of the Museum of International Folk Art, and was a confidant of Mrs. Bartlett. While living in Santa Fe, she rented quarters in the small Canyon Road compound owned by a Mrs. Cassidy, whom I am reasonably sure was the widow of the artist Gerald Cassidy. I grew up in Belen, and as a youngster (aged 8-10) I spent several summers in Santa Fe staying with my aunt and accompanied her on many of her visits to the pueblos and assisted her with tape recordings while she drew the dances. To the best of my knowledge, she was the only outsider with the approval of elders to record, photograph or document ceremonials. I don't specifically recall the purchase of any pottery, but do know that she would almost certainly have purchased them directly from the potters.”

Recommended Reading: Acoma & Laguna Pottery by Rick Dillingham

Alternate close-up view of side panel design.

  • Category: Historic
  • Origin: Acoma Pueblo
  • Medium: clay, pigment
  • Size: 8-5/8” height x 11” diameter
  • Item # 26077
  • SOLD

C3991A-acoma.jpgC3991A-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.