Original Painting of a Kachina [SOLD]

C3703-paint.jpg

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José Rey Toledo (1915-1994) Towa
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Jemez Pueblo - Walatowa
  • Medium: Watercolor
  • Size:
    13-5/8” x 7-1/2” image;
    21-3/8” x 14-5/8” framed
  • Item # C3703
  • SOLD

José Rey Toledo (1915-1994) Towa, from Jemez Pueblo, was a man of many interests and talents.  He is listed as having been an art instructor, education health specialist, administrator of Indian health programs, actor, educator, lecturer, muralist and painter.  It is this last category—painter—that is of particular interest to Adobe Gallery. His interest in painting was sparked by his cousin Velino Shije Herrera - Ma Pe Wi of Zia Pueblo. He attended the Albuquerque Indian School in the 1930s, then went to the University of New Mexico (UNM).  By 1955, he had obtained a Master’s Degree. After his time at UNM, he served as head of the art department at the Santa Fe Indian School. He obtained a Masters of Public Health degree from the University of California Berkeley in 1972.  

Toledo painted infrequently while pursuing his degrees.  Today, it is rare to find his works available on the market.  The majority of his paintings are traditional pueblo in style and subject matter—single or group dance figures and village scenes. Usually, the dance figures show a great deal of activity. Generally, he did not paint background scenes, just the flat figures against a plain background.  Despite not being as prolific as his contemporaries, he is highly regarded by collectors. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico, mounted a retrospective of his works in 1994, just months before he passed away.

This untitled painting is a fine example of Toledo’s skill as a traditionalist.  His subject, a colorful and detailed kachina, is presented directly instead of in profile.  The kachina is gorgeous, made of rich, bold watercolors. Toledo was known for strong color choices, and this piece is no exception.  Most notably unique is the vibrant purple used for the kachina’s mask.  

Artist Signature - José Rey Toledo (1915-1994) TowaToledo’s excellent linework—thicker than that of most of his peers, but no less detailed—is one of this image’s most striking characteristics.  His black lines outline and define the details of his subject’s beautiful ceremonial attire carefully but gracefully. They feel loosely and intuitively crafted, as if they weren’t labored over intensely but rather happened quite naturally.  Toledo’s choice to present his subject head-on was a wise one, as this kachina’s beautiful feathered headdress and detailed kilt are best seen from this perspective. This piece is rare and unusual, and, most importantly, extraordinarily attractive.



Condition: this Original Painting of a Kachina is in excellent original condition

Provenance:  from the Fine Art - Native American Paintings collection of a New Mexico resident

Recommended Reading:

- American Indian Painting of the Southwest and Plains Areas by Dorothy Dunn

- DANCING SPIRITS: José Rey Toledo, Towa Artist (1915-1994) by Susan Scarberry-García for the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture exhibit

Close up view of this painting of a Katsina.

José Rey Toledo (1915-1994) Towa
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Jemez Pueblo - Walatowa
  • Medium: Watercolor
  • Size:
    13-5/8” x 7-1/2” image;
    21-3/8” x 14-5/8” framed
  • Item # C3703
  • SOLD

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