Original Aquatint Etching “Hopi Illusion” by Helen Hardin


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Helen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter

"Hopi Illusion" is an aquatint etching by influential Santa Clara Pueblo artist Helen Hardin. According to the print documentation, Hardin and master printer Ricardo Ximines used four colors for this piece: Burnt Umber, Ochre, English Red and Midnight Blue. For this depiction of a Hopi figure, these colors appear in a subtle, somewhat muted application, complementing one another beautifully.

Hardin created a brilliantly complex composition to form this female Hopi figure. Her body is long and rectangular-pleasantly reminiscent of traditional Hopi kachina dolls, some might notice-with butterfly whorls and wide, elegant wing-like elements. Small moccasins emerge from the bottom of her dress, and a turquoise necklace adorns her neck. Within each of these elements, Hardin used a variety of gracefully intertwined geometric shapes and patterns. These forms are elaborate and precise, adding depth and interest to each element without feeling excessive or out of place. "Hopi Illusion" is a wonderful example of Helen Hardin working comfortably and successfully within the medium of aquatint etching.

"Hopi Illusion" was completed in November and December of 1980 at El Cerro Graphics in New Mexico. The printers were Ricardo C. Ximines, Lee Watson, and Erendira Ellis. It was completed in an edition of 60, plus a small number of artist's and printer's proofs. This etching is numbered "30/60". The etching is signed Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh in the lower right. It is framed beautifully, under multi-layered matting in an elegant carved wood frame. Double-matted, 1.5" natural wood frame, under plexiglass. Numbered 30/60 on the left, signed Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh on the right.

Artist signature of Helen Hardin (1943-1984) Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh - Little Standing Spruce

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 an astounding body of work for her many admirers to enjoy.

Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Original Aquatint Etching "Hopi Illusion" by Helen Hardin is from a private collection.

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

TAGS: Helen HardinSanta Clara PuebloPablita VelardeNative American symbolsNative American PaintingsAcoma Pueblo

Alternate close-up view of a section of this print.

Helen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter
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