Joseph Lonewolf Large Seed Pot with Sgraffito Deer Design [R]


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Joseph Lonewolf, Santa Clara Pueblo Artist

Joseph Lonewolf's Masterpiece: The 1976 Sgraffito-Carved Seed Pot

In 1976, Joseph Lonewolf, a renowned artist from Santa Clara Pueblo, crafted a remarkable seed pot that stands as a testament to his exceptional skill and creativity. Measuring almost three inches in height, this piece is considered large by Lonewolf's standards. The expanded size provided Lonewolf with a broader canvas, enabling him to enhance the scale of his intricate sgraffito-carved designs. Instead of populating the scene with multiple figures, he opted for a minimalist approach, focusing on a single figure and creating an elaborate environment around it.

The figure, a majestic deer with expansive antlers, is positioned near the top of the pot, with one tip of the antler reaching the apex. Surrounding the deer is a complex composition of kiva step, cloud, and sun elements, arranged in intersecting semicircular patterns. At first glance, the pot appears to be a simple redware piece. However, upon closer inspection, one can discern a soft rose tone subtly added to certain areas. This slight variation from the natural red color presents a subdued contrast to the blues and greens typically used by the artist.

As is characteristic of Lonewolf's work, the carved designs are executed with impeccable precision and artistry. While all of Lonewolf's creations are impressive, this particular seed pot stands out as an extraordinary piece, showcasing the artist's mastery over his craft.

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
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