“Buffalo Dancer” by José Encarnacion Peña


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José Encarnacion Peña, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter

This original painting by José Encarnacion Peña of San Ildefonso Pueblo is titled "Buffalo Dancer." It is dated 1979, which means that it was completed during the final year of the artist's life. Peña was known to have been at his most prolific during the last decade of life. This large and lively piece suggests that he was enjoying his process during this period.

Two figures appear, representing two different views of the same dancer. He holds bows and rattles, and wears ornate headdresses, kilts, moccasins, and sashes. Peña's color palette is minimal but strong, and the image succeeds at capturing the powerful presence of its subject.

Artist signature of José Encarnacion Peña (1902-1979) Soqween - So Kwa A Weh (Frost on the Mountain) - Enky from San Ildefonso PuebloBuffalo Dancer, Soku-awh 1979 Encarnacion Peña, Santa Fe N.Mex is written in lower right. The painting is framed under a cream mat in a carved frame.

José Encarnación Peña (1902-1979) Soqween - "So Kwa A Weh" (Frost on the Mountain) was painting at San Ildefonso Pueblo at the same time as Tonita Peña, Richard Martínez, Luís Gonzales, Abel Sánchez, and Romando Vigil. In his early years, he was not as prolific as his peers. It was during the last ten years of his life that he became most productive. He is represented in the collections of the Laboratory of Anthropology, Santa Fe; Museum of New Mexico; Denver Art Museum; and many others. Those who knew him personally often referred to him as "Enky"—pronounced "inky." He was actively painting until his death in 1979.

Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this "Buffalo Dancer" by José Encarnacion Peña is from a private collection, deaccessioned by Wheelwright Museum

Recommended Reading: Southwest Indian Painting: a Changing Art by Clara Lee Tanner

TAGS: paintingSan Ildefonso PuebloTonita PeñaRichard MartínezLuís GonzalesAbel SánchezRomando VigilTonita PeñaSanta FeDorothy DunnJosé Encarnacion Peña

Alternate close up view of a section off this painting.

José Encarnacion Peña, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter
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