Diné Mixed Media Yei Mask Painting by Tony Abeyta

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Tony Abeyta, Diné Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: mixed media
  • Size: 30” x 22” paper;
    33” x 25-½” framed
  • Item # C4397
  • Price: $4,500.00

This wonderful mixed media piece was made by Navajo Nation artist Tony Abeyta, one of the most successful contemporary Native American painters.  We are always pleased to present Abeyta’s works when given the opportunity. They are dynamic, colorful, and beautiful, and they explore a variety of styles and themes.  Some, like this piece, present traditional Native imagery in unique, modern styles.  This particular piece focuses on the mask of a Diné Yei figure.  The Yei are sacred to the Diné people, as they allow communication between the humans and their gods.

Abeyta’s Yei is composed of a brilliant combination of colors.  The mask and the background are made of warm oranges, yellows, and reds.  Darker shades of red define the Yei’s feathered headdress.  Cool blues and greens are used sparingly here, too, adding depth to the headdress.  These same blues and greens join a variety of other cool colors down below, forming the Yei’s evergreen ruff.  What’s most exciting about this piece is the interplay between these cool colors and their warm counterparts.  Abeyta combined them with effortless grace.  The end result is an image so rich in color and texture that it will catch eyes from afar, but truly shine when viewed up close.  This is an excellent piece from one of the best Native painters of today.

The painting is signed “Tony Abeyta” in lower right.  The paper is mounted with its edges exposed in a simple wood frame.

Navajo artist Tony Abeyta (1965- ) is one of the best and most collectible contemporary Native American painters.  Abeyta was educated at Santa Fe's Institute of American Indian Arts, the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, and overseas in Italy and Southern France.  Abeyta described his creative motivations thusly: “I want my work to reinforce the ideology of Indian religion, its strength, its beauty and semblance. I work to create an interpretation of these deities translated through myself and given an identity devoid of their actual documented existence. I'm more interested in an icon or the idea, which these beings represent. This system of ritual belief is the most important basis in Indian culture and ensures its infinite existence.”  Abeyta’s father was Diné painter Narciso Platero Abeyta (1918-1998) Ha So De.

Provenance: Acquired from the artist in 2017 by a Santa Fe collector, who is now downsizing

Condition: this Diné Mixed Media Yei Mask Painting by Tony Abeyta is in very good condition

Recommended reading: 100 Artists of the Southwest by Douglas Bullis

Relative Links: Diné - Navajo NationNative American Fine ArtNarciso Platero Abeytapainting, Tony Abeyta

Close up view of the Yei Mask.

Tony Abeyta, Diné Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: mixed media
  • Size: 30” x 22” paper;
    33” x 25-½” framed
  • Item # C4397
  • Price: $4,500.00

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