Maria and Popovi Black-on-Black Plate with Fish Design [SOLD]


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Maria Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potter

This black-on-black plate was made by the mother and son duo of San Ildefonso Pueblo artists, Maria Martinez and Popovi Da. The plate is cosigned with both of their names, which is typical of their collaborative works.  With its whimsical design and perfectly crafted form, it’s a wonderful example of expressive creativity and technical skill working together harmoniously.

This modestly sized, shallow plate creates a fine environment for Popovi’s fish.  A line circles the plate’s rim, and a single plant design appears.  Other than these small touches, the only painted design is the fish itself.  Popovi’s work with this creature is sweet and stylish.  He incorporated a reference to traditional pueblo designs via a horizontal kiva step design and created a sense of movement by stretching out the upper fins.  A simple but expressive eye further imbues the fish with personality.  It is clear that Maria and Popovi were at once working at a high level and enjoying their processes when they created this piece.

Artists' signatures of Maria Martinez and Popovi Da, San Ildefonso PottersThe back of the plate is signed Maria/Popovi.

Maria Martinez (1887-1980) and Popovi Da (1922-1971) were, individually and as a duo, two of the most influential pueblo potters. The period from 1956 to 1970 is recognized as the strongest period of collaborative creativity and genius by this talented team. Popovi's wife, Anita, stated that "He was a born artist.  Because of his high standards—seeking perfection in his material, in craftsmanship, and in design—his output was limited.  Other factors in the limited output were his desire to further his mother's work; time spent working for the welfare of his people; and public appearances as an internationally known ceramist and watercolor artist" (Spivey 2003).  Popovi worked with Maria in all aspects of pottery preparation, and their pieces were co-signed. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1971.  It was at that time that Maria retired.

Condition: excellent condition, one scratch on back of plate

Provenance: this Maria and Popovi Black-on-Black Plate with Fish Design is from a private New Mexico collection

Reference: The Legacy of Maria Poveka Martinez by Richard Spivey

Relative Links: Pueblo Pottery, San Ildefonso PuebloPopovi DaSantana and Adam MartinezJulian Martinez, Maria MartinezAnitaSantana

Alternate view from the side.

Maria Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potter
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