Original Painting of a San Ildefonso Corn Dance Procession

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José Desiderio (J.D.) Roybal [1922-1978] Oquwa - Rain God
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: Watercolor on paper
  • Size:
    9-1/2" x 14" image;
    18-1/2" x 22-1/2" framed
  • Item # C4139C
  • Price: $4,500.00

José Disiderio “J. D.” Roybal (1922-1978) Oquwa - Rain God was a talented and accomplished painter from San Ildefonso Pueblo.  He was a nephew of Alfonso Roybal. He is best known for his colorful and detailed depictions of San Ildefonso ceremonial rituals. He was a prolific artist, producing many small, single-figure pieces for sale.  The majority of these works—in keeping with the “flat” style favored by Pueblo painters of the time—contain no background or ground plane. Roybal painted a bit during his youth, but became much more productive during the 1950s.  He exhibited and sold his works most frequently and successfully during the 1960s.

Clara Lee Tanner’s book Southwest Indian Painting: A Changing Art praises Roybal’s skill and highlights a few notable accomplishments: “Obviously influenced by his famous uncle, J. D. Roybal has used water-based paints.  In most of his work there prevail fine color, excellent detail, small and fine outlines, gesturing figures, and a pleasing combination of heavy conventional themes with realistic subjects . . . Roybal placed in the 1968 Scottsdale show, and received an honorable mention in the 1971 Red Cloud Indian Art Show in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.”  

Roybal spent a large portion of his career painting miniature pieces—generally the size of postcards—featuring single pueblo dancers. Making paintings of this size was a practical decision, as they were inexpensive and easy to sell. Occasionally, he painted larger paintings, which usually featured two or three costumed dancers. Only rarely did he paint major dance ceremonies or include backgrounds and additional designs.  Roybal, admirably, did not simplify his dancers when presenting many at once. Instead, he created each one with the same level of detail and carefully chosen colors that his single figure images featured.

This untitled painting features 12 dancers and one Koosa clown.  Each of the 13 people is depicted in striking detail. A close inspection of the piece reveals a multitude of features that are rarely included in pueblo paintings of this era: careful shading, slight variations in color, and incredibly intricate linework.  The male dancers’ evergreen boughs and the female dancers’ baskets are excellent examples of the artist’s considerable technical abilities. While he is most often praised for his representational work, Roybal was also immensely talented when working with more abstract forms.  Here, he frames his pueblo dance within colorful abstract designs, adding a personal touch to the image. The end result is an exemplary work from one of the most uniquely talented San Ildefonso painters.

Artist Signature - J. D. Roybal (1922-1978) Oquwa - Rain GodThe Original Painting of a San Ildefonso Corn Dance Procession is framed beautifully, using the highest quality materials: acid-free matting, UV-protected glass and a gorgeous wood frame.


Condition: excellent condition
Provenance: from a the private collection of a Washington resident
Recommended Reading: American Indian Painting of the Southwest and Plains Areas by Dorothy Dunn

Close up view of the dancers.

José Desiderio (J.D.) Roybal [1922-1978] Oquwa - Rain God
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: Watercolor on paper
  • Size:
    9-1/2" x 14" image;
    18-1/2" x 22-1/2" framed
  • Item # C4139C
  • Price: $4,500.00

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