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Buffalo and Animal Dancers with Singers

C3874M-paint.jpg

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Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: gouache on paper
  • Size:
    12” x 21” image;
    20-3/4” x 29-7/8” framed
  • Item # C3874M
  • Price: $7,900.00

Tonita Peña was the only woman in the group of talented early pueblo artists referred to as The San Ildefonso Self-Taught Group, which included such noted artists as Julian MartinezAlfonso RoybalAbel SanchezCrecencio Martinez, and Encarnación Peña.  The men accepted her as an equal.

 

Like her peers, she did not use a ground plane or perspective but managed to give the illusion of depth by avoiding, whenever possible, straight lines of figures.  In her dance groups, her individual figures give the appearance of being alive and moving, rather than being fixed in time or motionless as other artists of her time painted.

 

Peña's paintings are distinguished by their vitality and spiritual integrity. Only a Native artist familiar with ceremonial dances could produce such powerful and authentic renderings of these ceremonies.  Her paintings of dance scenes are delicate, yet strong.  The dancers in this painting have strong faces and ethnographically correct costuming.  The women are beautifully clothed and provided with exquisite jewelry.  Peña's familiarity of the dance is represented through the finest details.

 

Animal dances at New Mexico Pueblos are performed in the fall and winter as a celebration of thanksgiving for bountiful game. Deer, antelope, rams and buffalo are often seen in the same dance. The hunter takes on the spirit of the animal he has hunted during the year. He thanks the spirit of that animal, and he asks for good luck for next year's hunt.

 

Artist Signature - Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah AhThis painting of Buffalo and Animal Dancers with Singers by Tonita Peña is signed in the lower right and dates to circa 1921.  Stamped on the back of the painting is Pueblo Indian Arts and Crafts Market and the price of $40.

 

This painting is illustrated on page 199 of Through Their Eyes—Indian Painting in Santa Fe, 1918-1945 by Michelle McGeough, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, 2009 

 

Condition: very good

Provenance: Charlotte G. Mittler collection and purchased in 1996 from a Santa Fe dealer.

Recommended Reading: Through Their Eyes—Indian Painting in Santa Fe, 1918-1945 by Michelle McGeough, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, 2009

Close up view of the dancers in this painting.

Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: gouache on paper
  • Size:
    12” x 21” image;
    20-3/4” x 29-7/8” framed
  • Item # C3874M
  • Price: $7,900.00

C3874M-paint.jpgC3874M-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.