Pablita Velarde Pueblo Clown with a Rooster


+ Add to my watchlist Forward to Friend

Pablita Velarde, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter

The Vibrant Role of Clowns in Native American Culture:

An Analysis of Pablita Velarde's Artwork

Clowns have been integral to Native American culture and tradition for centuries. Their roles, while diverse across different tribes, predominantly embody jesters or tricksters within the Pueblo culture. These clowns are not merely sources of comedic relief during solemn rituals; they serve a multitude of purposes. They are conduits of social commentary, participants in weather rituals, enforcers of behavioral norms, and agents of public shaming for those who defy social customs. Their humor, sharp and insightful, is a tool to highlight and discourage unacceptable behaviors.

In the captivating artwork of Santa Clara painter Pablita Velarde, the multifaceted role of the clown comes to life. The painting depicts a clown in mid-action, running with a bow gripped in his right hand, a sack of quivers slung over his back, and a chicken clutched in his left hand. The clown's interaction with the chicken, while unclear, undoubtedly contributes to an engaging spectacle.

Velarde's work is renowned for its meticulous attention to detail and vibrant coloration, both of which are evident in this piece. The clown is adorned with an array of Native American jewelry, including triangular turquoise earrings, a beaded coral necklace, and silver bracelets encircling each wrist. His attire is traditional, featuring characteristic stripes, and his face is painted, accentuated with makeup. Perhaps the most mesmerizing aspect of the painting is Velarde's masterful rendering of the sky. She skillfully incorporates various shades to capture the deep orange-red aura characteristic of the Southwest sky, adding depth and context to the clown's antics. This artwork serves as a vivid exploration of the dynamic role of clowns within Native American culture.

Aritst signature of Pablita Velarde, Santa Clara Pueblo PainterThe painting is signed Pablita Velarde 1997 in the lower right corner. It is framed in a rustic wood frame, which very appropriately compliments the piece.

Pablita Velarde (1918-2006) Tse Tsan (Golden Dawn) was an innovative and influential artist from Santa Clara Pueblo. Velarde was among the first full-time female students 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: excellent original condition

Provenance: this Pablita Velarde Pueblo Clown with a Rooster is from the estate of an Albuquerque family


TAGS: Native American PaintingsSanta Clara PuebloTonita PeñawatercolorHelen HardinNavajo Nation

Close-up view of a section of this painting.

Pablita Velarde, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter
C4767H-paint.jpgC4767H-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.