Black-on-black Avanyu Design Jar [SOLD]


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Maria and Julian Martinez

The legacy of Maria Martinez is one which has touched the lives of countless people, not only in the American Southwest, but around the world. Each of her pieces has a familiarity, yet each is entirely unique. All showcase the humble brilliance of Maria (and her relatives), and all have something important to say.

This black-on-black jar, made by Maria and her husband Julian, likely in the late 1920s or early 1930s, is truly a quintessential Maria Martinez and family piece. The husband-and-wife duo worked together until Julian's death in 1943, creating some spectacular pottery along the way. On this jar, an Avanyu band circles the body, beautifully matted by Julian. Water is a highly important resource in the Southwest, and as Avanyu is the water serpent deity, it is often seen on Pueblo pottery, particularly on pieces from San Ildefonso and Santa Clara. The pleasant aspect of this particular Avanyu is that it is subtle, allowing the focus to be on the piece as a whole rather than strictly the image depicted by Julian.

On both the bottom and the top of this band the simplicity of Maria's pottery is highlighted, as the smooth, deep black clay is bare. This allows the viewer to admire the finish that has become so synonymous with San Ildefonso and especially the Martinez family.

All around, it is a marvelous jar and is beautifully designed. The bottom is signed Marie + Julian.

Maria Martinez (1887-1980) of San Ildefonso Pueblo is probably the most famous of all pueblo potters. She and her husband, Julian, discovered in 1918 how to produce the now-famous black-on-black pottery and they spent the remainder of their careers perfecting and producing it for museums and collectors worldwide. Julián Martinez (1885-1943) Pocano - "Coming of the Spirits" was born in 1885 (source: Richard Spivey) in San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico, and died on March 6, 1943, in San Ildefonso Pueblo. He had no formal art training and was a true renaissance man. In addition to "artist," Martinez listed his occupation as "farmer, laborer, janitor [for the Museum of New Mexico], and pottery designer." He was the father of Popovi Da, also a well-known Pueblo artist.

Condition: good condition

Provenance: this Black-on-black Avanyu Design Jar is from the collection of a family from Santa Fe

Recommended Reading:

The Living Tradition of Maria Martinez by Susan Peterson

-  The Legacy of Maria Poveka Martinez by Richard L. Spivey

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

Artists' Signatures of Maria and Julian Martinez of San Ildefonso Pueblo

Maria and Julian Martinez
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