Joseph Lonewolf Large Seed Pot with Sgraffito Deer Design


+ Add to my watchlist Forward to Friend

Joseph Lonewolf, Santa Clara Pueblo Artist

This remarkable seed pot was made in 1976 by Joseph Lonewolf of Santa Clara Pueblo. Those who are familiar with Lonewolf's work will recognize that, at almost three inches in height, this is a large piece by the artist's standards. This expanded size allowed Lonewolf to expand the scale of his remarkable sgraffito-carved designs. Rather than expanding the scene with additional figures, he chose to create an elaborate environment around a single figure.

A single deer with massive antlers appears near the top of the pot, with one antler's tip landing right at the top. A complex composition appears around the deer, with kiva step, cloud, and sun elements arranged in intersecting semicircular patterns. From a distance, this looks like a simple redware piece, but a closer look reveals that a soft rose tone was added in certain areas. It's just a slight variation from the natural red color, which makes it a subtle choice in comparison to the blues and greens the artist often used. As always, the carved designs were executed beautifully. While Lonewolf's works are always great, this example is a standout piece.

Artist signature and hallmark of Joseph Lonewolf, Santa Clara Pueblo PotterThe bottom of the pot is signed Joseph Lonewolf, marked with the artist's hallmark wolf face, and numbered 115S, and dated 1976.

Joseph Lonewolf (1932 - 2014) was an artist from Santa Clara Pueblo. Lonewolf was a nephew of Margaret Tafoya. He started a career as a mechanic and then became a trained machinist, making precision parts with fine engraving. It was this skill that he transferred from mechanical objects to precision-carved pottery. In 1971, Lonewolf returned to Santa Clara Pueblo and put his skills to making pottery as had been taught to him by his mother, Agapita Silva Tafoya. His father, Camilio Tafoya, had taken him as a child into the mountains where he witnessed petroglyphs carved into caves and on walls of cliffs. Lonewolf took the lessons of his mother and field trips with his father and combined the two to arrive at intricately carved designs on pottery.

Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Joseph Lonewolf Large Seed Pot with Sgraffito Deer Design is from a private collection

Reference and Recommended Reading: The Pottery Jewels of Joseph Lonewolf by Jon Young. 1975 Dandick Publications

TAGS: Margaret Tafoya,  Santa Clara PueblopotteryAgapita Silva TafoyaCamilio TafoyaRick DillinghamJoseph Lonewolf

Alternate view of this miniature seed jar.

Joseph Lonewolf, Santa Clara Pueblo Artist
C4693D-miniature.jpgC4693D-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.