Helen Hardin Painting titled “Zia Jar” and the depicted Jar by Helen Gachupin

C4648A-paint.jpg

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Helen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Santa Clara Pueblo, Kha'p'oo Owinge
  • Medium: acrylic on canvas; clay;
    PRICE is for both painting and pot
  • Size:
    17-3/8” x 21-1/2” image;
    28” x 32” framed;
    The pot is 6-3/4" tall;
    PRICE is for both painting and pot
  • Item # C4648A
  • Price: $12500

"Zia Jar" is an original painting completed in the late 1970s by Santa Clara Pueblo artist Helen Hardin. This is a unique and exciting piece with an interesting backstory. The image was inspired by a Zia Pueblo jar, which Hardin saw and became enchanted with while visiting a neighbor. Hardin borrowed the jar, painted her own version of its designs, and returned it to its owner. The painting then went through the usual channels to the market. Its purchaser inquired about the jar and eventually acquired it. Later, they donated both to the Wheelwright Museum, which sold the painting and jar together to a local collector. That collector is now downsizing, and has decided to part with the pair of artworks. The jar is signed by Zia artist Helen Gachupin, and it is included with the purchase of the painting. The jar measures 6-½" x 6-½", and it is in fine condition with the exception of a few pigment abrasions. We have seen pottery designs appear in Hardin's paintings—most notably in the form of Mimbres-inspired animal designs—but we've never before acquired both a pottery-inspired painting and the actual jar that inspired it.

Hardin's work with this piece is excellent. The painting is larger than the typical Hardin painting, allowing plenty of space for the artist to work. The background of the painting makes use of a variety of orange and red tones, which appear in curved lines, tiny bubbles and wild bursts. These tones combine with one another beautifully to create a dense web of warm orange, which could represent a blazing desert sun or the fire from which the pot emerged. She then zoomed in on the jar's central motif, which features a bird within a spiral. Traditional pueblo symbols support the spiral, extending up and down from its curved exterior. Hardin deviates slightly from the jar's design on the left side of the painting, reversing the interior designs of a curved triangular form and shrinking a red inverted kiva step motif into a slimmer form. Otherwise, she faithfully reproduces the jar's designs, even working with her own versions of the black and red tones used by Zia Potters. Hardin's red is a bit darker, and it suits the painting perfectly. It is remarkable that Hardin was able to translate this image so gracefully from clay to canvas.

Artist signature of Helen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo PainterThe painting is signed Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh in lower right. It is framed in an updated version of the original frame style preferred by Hardin. The painting is mounted within its own frame over a fabric matting, within a larger frame.

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.

Artist signature of Helen Gachupin (1931-1999) Zia Pueblo potterHelen Gachupin (1931-1999) was a Zia Pueblo potter. Gachupin worked using traditional methods, materials, and designs. She was not known to have been particularly prolific, but she was quite skilled, and her works have been placed in a number of prominent museum collections. Gachupin passed away in 1999.


Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Helen Hardin Painting titled "Zia Jar" and the depicted Jar by Helen Gachupin is from a private New Mexico collection, obtained from Case Trading Post

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

TAGS: Santa Clara PuebloPablita VelardeNative American PrintsNative American PaintingsHelen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo PainterSouthwest Indian Pottery, Zia Pueblo

Close up view of a section of the painting.

The inspiration behind it all ... the pot by Helen Gachupin

Helen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Santa Clara Pueblo, Kha'p'oo Owinge
  • Medium: acrylic on canvas; clay;
    PRICE is for both painting and pot
  • Size:
    17-3/8” x 21-1/2” image;
    28” x 32” framed;
    The pot is 6-3/4" tall;
    PRICE is for both painting and pot
  • Item # C4648A
  • Price: $12500

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