Red Sgraffito Masterpiece with Jackrabbits by Joseph Lonewolf


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Joseph Lonewolf, Santa Clara Pueblo Artist

This gorgeous polished red seed jar by Joseph Lonewolf highlights a pair of jackrabbits facing each other while above them is a four-pointed star, often called a Morning Star. Behind the jackrabbits is a series of rope-like circles with precise lines scored in the style of a woven basket. There is an incredible amount of detailed sgraffito effort in this medallion of design. The bottom of the pot is signed Joseph Lonewolf with his wolf head and 5 B 1973.

Artist signature and hallmark of Joseph Lonewolf, Santa Clara Pueblo ArtistJoseph Lonewolf (1932 - 2014) was an artist from Santa Clara Pueblo. He was a nephew of Margaret Tafoya. He started a career as a mechanic and then became a trained machinist, making precision parts with fine engraving. It was this skill that he transferred from mechanical objects to precision-carved pottery.

In 1971, Lonewolf returned to Santa Clara Pueblo and put his skills to making pottery as had been taught to him by his mother, Agapita Silva Tafoya. His father, Camilio Tafoya, had taken him as a child into the mountains where he witnessed petroglyphs carved into caves and on walls of cliffs. Lonewolf took the lessons of his mother and field trips with his father and combined the two to arrive at intricately carved designs on pottery. This seed jar was completed two years after Lonewolf began making sgraffito pottery, and it is a testament to his dedication and experience that he was able to create such a magnificent and precise design with such a short learning period.

As is characteristic of Lonewolf's work, the carved designs are executed with impeccable precision and artistry. While all of Lonewolf's creations are impressive, this seed pot stands out as an extraordinary piece, showcasing the artist's mastery over his craft.

Condition: very good condition with minor scratches in polished red slip

Provenance: this Red Sgraffito Masterpiece with Jackrabbits by Joseph Lonewolf is from the collection of a client of Adobe Gallery

Recommended Reading: The Pottery Jewels of Joseph Lonewolf by Jon Young. 1975 Dandick Publications

TAGS: Margaret TafoyaSanta Clara PueblopotteryAgapita Silva TafoyaCamilio TafoyaRick DillinghamSouthwest Indian Jewelry

Alternate view showing the miniature scale of this pottery vessel.

Joseph Lonewolf, Santa Clara Pueblo Artist
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