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Original Painting entitled Apache Devil Dance

C4084C-paint.jpg

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Albert Martinez (1888-1940) Looking Elk
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Taos Pueblo
  • Medium: watercolor
  • Size:
    13-1/2” x 19-1/2” image;
    15-1/8” x 21-1/8” framed
  • Item # C4084C
  • Price: $1,800.00

Albert Martinez (c. 1888 – November 30, 1940) was, along with Albert Lujan and Juan Mirabal, one of the “Three Taos Painters.” Martinez is most frequently referred to as Albert Looking Elk. He entered the art world not as a creator, but as a subject. He modeled for Taos Society of Artists founding members E. Irving Couse and Oscar Berninghaus throughout his childhood and well into adulthood.  In 1915, when he was about 27 years old, he received a significant Christmas gift from Berninghaus: paints, brushes, and painting lessons. He was successful enough to show his work multiple times at Santa Fe’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Martinez, along with his two aforementioned contemporaries, created works that show an obvious European influence.  His preferred subject was Taos Pueblo itself, which he depicted frequently and quite realistically. He also, on occasion, created paintings that displayed a Santa Fe Indian School “flat” style influence, though that is not the style for which he and his peers are remembered.

This painting is an interesting anomaly.  As far as its subject matter goes, it bears the influences of not just the Pueblo Indians but the Plains Indians too.  Its subject—the Apache Devil Dance—is of the Plains Indians, but the image includes a Pueblo Koshare clown. The Devil Dancers themselves are pictured wearing Pueblo-style tabletas instead of the semicircular headdress composed of a series of sticks that one would expect to see a Devil Dancer wearing.  Compositionally, it appears to have been influenced by Plains ledger art.

It’s an unusual image, especially when one considers that Martinez was best known for painting Pueblo scenes.  One might wonder what inspired the artist to create the painting. Perhaps he witnessed a Pueblo reenactment or tribute that included the pictured Koshare clown.  Maybe he witnessed an actual Apache Devil Dance, saw a photograph, or had the dance described to him and then misremembered a few details. Whatever the reason for its creation, it’s a beautiful piece that will be appreciated by Fine Art - Native American Paintings enthusiasts who seek out the rare and unusual.

Artist Signature - Albert Martinez (c. 1888 – November 30, 1940) Albert Looking ElkThe painting is signed “Albert Looking Elk, Taos” and titled “Apache Devil Dance.”

Condition: this Original Painting entitled Apache Devil Dance is in very good condition
Provenance: from the collection of a New Mexico resident

Close up view of this painting.

Albert Martinez (1888-1940) Looking Elk
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Taos Pueblo
  • Medium: watercolor
  • Size:
    13-1/2” x 19-1/2” image;
    15-1/8” x 21-1/8” framed
  • Item # C4084C
  • Price: $1,800.00

C4084C-paint.jpgC4084C-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.