Julián Martinez Original Painting of Tewa Ram Dancer

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Julián Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter

This original watercolor painting of a Tewa Ram Dancer was created by artist Julian Martinez of San Ildefonso. Those who are familiar with Martinez' paintings will likely recognize that this piece is a strong example of his style. He did occasionally experiment with decorative motifs and symbolic imagery, and he did so quite successfully, but single-figure images like this seem to have been his preferred format.

This fantastic, evocative, and subtly beautiful image depicts a Ram Dancer in profile. It was executed in watercolor on paper. The figure was created in contour with pencil and then wonderfully realized in opaque pigment, with all the traditional accouterments of the dancer. The prominent headdress frames the coal-black face of the dancer, with feathered embellishments falling to the rear, over the dancer's back and neck. The dancer wears a white cotton blouse and a traditional black kilt. Around his waist he wears a woven belt and a belt of brass bells. The legs are covered in white cotton woven garters tied with red yarn, above which is a leather strap with brass bells. There are feathered dance wands that simulate the front legs of the animal, and embellished moccasins complete the ensemble. Sections of skunk are tied around the moccasins to ward off evil.

Artist signature of Julián Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter

The painting is signed Julian Martinez in lower right. It was recently reframed in high-quality, archival materials, including a black frame and tan matting with a black interior band.

Julián Martinez (1885-1943) Pocano "Coming of the Spirits" was an artist who was born, lived most of his life, and died at the small but artistically rich San Ildefonso Pueblo. He is perhaps best known for painting designs onto the pottery vessels created by his wife-the famous San Ildefonso potter Maria Martinez. He painted works on paper, too, and did so successfully despite receiving no formal art education. He was the father of Popovi Da and the grandfather of Tony Da, both of whom went on to become famous and successful artists themselves. Martinez was an important part of two major artistic movements: the beginnings of both black-on-black San Ildefonso pottery and traditional "flat style" pueblo painting. Martinez passed away in 1943.


Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Julián Martinez Original Painting of Tewa Ram Dancer is from a private collection of a California family

Recommended Reading: Modern by Tradition-American Indian Painting in The Studio Style by Bruce Bernstein and W. Jackson Rushing

TAGS: San Ildefonso PuebloMaria MartinezPopovi DapotterypaintingsJulián Martinez

Alternate close-up view of a section of this painting.

Julián Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter
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