Pablita Velarde Mineral Earth Painting of Mountain Sheep Dancer [SOLD]


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Pablita Velarde, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Santa Clara Pueblo, Kha'p'oo Owinge
  • Medium: mineral earth pigments on board
  • Size:
    11-½” x 9-½” image;
    18-⅜” x 16-½” framed
  • Item # C4557B
  • SOLD

Santa Clara Pueblo artist Pablita Velarde created this excellent original painting.  Her subject here is a Mountain Sheep Dancer, and her medium is handmade mineral earth paints.  Velarde’s dancer is rich in depth and strong in color, with fine linework and sharp detail.  Great care was given to each element, which is what we have come to expect of Velarde’s work. 

Those who have been fortunate enough to attend a pueblo ceremonial dance will likely recognize this figure’s stance.  For the duration of the ceremony, he has essentially become the animal.  His knees are bent, and he leans forward onto two short staffs, which stand in for the animal’s front legs.  His dance is as graceful and natural as the animals’ own movements.  The dance is an act of prayer and gratitude on behalf of all people, and it is a beautiful thing to witness.  Velarde did a fine job capturing this moment.

The painting is signed Pablita Velarde in lower right.  It is framed in the original wood frame.  Santa Clara Pueblo Mountain Sheep (Bighorn) Dancer is written in pencil on the back of the frame.

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 passed away in 2006.

Condition: good condition with some abrasion in the upper corners, and some light discoloration on the wood frame

Provenance: this Pablita Velarde Mineral Earth Painting of Mountain Sheep Dancer is from the collection of Wilma Hall, former VA nurse in Albuquerque

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

Relative Links: Native American PaintingsSanta Clara PuebloTonita PeñawatercolorHelen HardinNavajo NationPablita Velarde, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter

Alternate close-up view of the face of the ram dancer.