Pablita Velarde Mineral Earth Painting of Pueblo Buffalo Dancer

C4557A-paint.jpg

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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 # C4557A
  • Price: $2000

This original painting was made by influential Santa Clara Pueblo artist Pablita Velarde.  The format of this piece—a single dancer in mineral earth pigments, set over a background of wide geometric patterns in earth tones—was a favorite of Velarde’s.  Each execution is well worth exploring, as Velarde was immensely skilled when it came to imbuing her figures with warmth and character.

Here, she selected a Buffalo Dancer—a fine choice, given the visual strength of this dancer’s regalia.  He faces the viewer directly, wearing a massive headpiece and holding a bow and rattle.  Velarde dove deep into the intricacies of the dancer’s clothing, creating a kilt and sash that move beyond the typical two-dimensional style of the era.  Her colors are bold and attractive, mostly muted, and earthy, but brighter colors appear as well.  This is a wonderful example of one of Pablita Velarde’s most well-known styles.

Artist Signature of Pablita Velarde, Santa Clara Pueblo PainterThe painting is signed Pablita Velarde in lower right.  It is framed in the original wood frame.  Velarde wrote Santa Clara Pueblo Buffalo Dancer in pencil on the back of the frame.

Santa Clara Pueblo painter Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) Tse Tsan - Golden Dawn 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 using 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.”  Velarde passed away in 2006.


Condition: good condition with some very light discoloration/abrasion near upper corners

Provenance: this Pablita Velarde Mineral Earth Painting of Pueblo Buffalo 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 buffalo dancer face.

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 # C4557A
  • Price: $2000

C4557A-paint.jpgC4557A-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.