Helen Hardin Original Painting of Heartline Bear and Mask [SOLD]


+ Add to my watchlist Forward to Friend

Helen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter

This original acrylic painting was completed in 1977 by Santa Clara Pueblo artist Helen Hardin. A heartline bear occupies much of the lower half of the image. A band of horizontal lines and triangular elements serves as the ground upon which the bear stands. Two plants grow from the band, reaching up toward the sky. These elements appear in a bold, opaque manner, emphasizing their physical nature.

Up above, Hardin shifts away from the physical world, depicting a mask hovering within a sky filled with elegant abstract designs. A complex maze of horizontal and vertical lines sits within a larger pattern of circles to form the mask. The bear looks up over its shoulder toward the mask, linking the two primary elements together. Circular forms emanate from the mask, passing behind the bear but over the pattern of rectangular blocks that appears in the background. As always, there is incredible depth and beauty in the textured, layered treatment of the background.

Hardin's palette of soft red, purple and brown tones will appeal to many. Blues and greens appear as well, though only as sharp, thin lines, which define the physical elements in the lower half and intensify the spiritual symbol up above. All of the designs, elements, and colors work together naturally and beautifully in this image.

Artist Signature of Helen Hardin (1943-1984) Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh or “Little Standing Spruce”, Santa Clara Pueblo PainterThe painting is signed Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh and dated 1977 in lower right. The painting is mounted in a wood frame over a fabric matting, within a larger frame. These are the original materials selected by the artist.

Helen Hardin (1943-1984) Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh or "Little Standing Spruce" was an innovative and influential painter from 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.

What is a Heartline Animal?  The heartline is used primarily by Zuni Pueblo potters and can be seen in many animals – usually a deer (heartline deer).  The line from the mouth to the heart signifies the "breath of life."

Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Helen Hardin Original Painting of Heartline Bear and Mask is from a private New Mexico collection, obtained from a Santa Fe gallery in 2014

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

TAGS: Santa Clara PuebloPablita VelardeNative American PrintsNative American Paintings

Close up of mask image in this Helen Hardin painting.

Close up view of the heartline bear image.