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Original Painting “Basket Dancer” by Pablita Velarde

C4145D-paint.jpg

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Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) Tse Tsan - Golden Dawn
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Santa Clara Pueblo
  • Medium: mineral earth pigments on board
  • Size:
    11-⅛” x 9-¼” image;
    15-3/8” x 13-1/4” framed
  • Item # C4145D
  • Price: $2,250.00

Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) Tse Tsan - Golden Dawn was an innovative and influential artist from Santa Clara Pueblo.  Velarde was the first full-time female student in Dorothy Dunn's art class at the Santa Fe Indian School, where she studied alongside Tonita Peña.  These two women are regarded as the first Native American women to support themselves as painters, but it’s not just because of this that they are remembered so fondly.  It’s because of the quality of their works that they have remained so visible in the many years since they have passed.

Velarde painted in the traditional style of the Santa Fe Indian School, creating accurate portraits of Native American life and culture. At first she worked in watercolor, but later learned how to prepare paints from natural pigments—a process called “Fresco Secco.”  She is best known for these mineral earth paintings. She ground mineral and rock elements on a metate and mano until the result was a powdery substance. From this substance her paints were made. She also painted on paper, often using casein in addition to earth pigments. She was also known to create art derived from the Navajo sandpainting tradition.

Velarde’s list of accomplishments and accolades is long and varied.  Her works have been exhibited around the country and are included in many prestigious public and private collections.  Author and anthropologist Clara Lee Tanner called her the “greatest woman artist in the Southwest.” Her daughter Helen Hardin and her granddaughter Margaret Bagshaw were themselves very successful and influential painters, creating an artistic dynasty that spanned three generations.

Artist Signature - Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) Tse Tsan - Golden DawnThis painting of a Basket Dancer is classic Pablita Velarde: a Pueblo Dancer, pictured mid-dance and in profile, placed atop a background made of simple geometric designs in muted colors.  The artist’s Santa Fe Indian School education is obvious in this painting, which mostly adheres to the simple guidelines of the traditional “flat style.” Velarde’s dancer is incredibly well-crafted, with ethnographically accurate dance regalia.  By the time this piece was completed—the 1960s, according to its original collector—Velarde had progressed from student to professional. She’d painted images like this one many times, evolving technically and solidifying her own artistic voice as time passed.  During her early Indian School days, her paintings looked quite similar to those of her peers. By the time this piece was created, her paintings looked like the unique and recognizable works of an accomplished professional with her own style and voice. What is most amazing is that she, along with just a few others from that early group, was able to develop a career and a legacy from such humble beginnings.

The painting is signed “Pablita Velarde” in its lower right corner. It is in excellent condition and is still in the original frame—the style preferred by the artist.  On the back of the frame, Velarde wrote the following in pencil: “Basket Dancer, Santa Clara Pueblo, 50.00”.



Condition: this Original Painting "Basket Dancer" by Pablita Velarde is in excellent condition

Provenance: from the daughter of a now-deceased collector who purchased it directly from the artist in the 1960s

Recommended Reading: Woman's Work: The Art of Pablita Velarde by Sally Hyer

Close up view of the dancer.

Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) Tse Tsan - Golden Dawn
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Santa Clara Pueblo
  • Medium: mineral earth pigments on board
  • Size:
    11-⅛” x 9-¼” image;
    15-3/8” x 13-1/4” framed
  • Item # C4145D
  • Price: $2,250.00

C4145D-paint.jpgC4145D-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.