Oquwa Original Painting of Two People in a Basket Dance

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J.D. Roybal, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter

This original painting was created by San Ildefonso Pueblo artist J.D. Roybal.  The artist is known for having prolifically created works in a uniquely evolved version of the traditional “flat” style.  His figures were meticulously detailed, with admirable depth and realistic movement.  With this piece, however, he created something totally different, and his experiment was a great success.

The figures here—a man and a woman, wearing traditional dance regalia—are composed in a style that is more stylish and less realistic than Roybal’s norm.  They are two dimensional, and they face the viewer directly.  Small plants rise from the ground near their feet, and a decorative sun motif hovers up above.  Roybal’s meticulous linework is present here, but in a softer, gentler application, which suits the image perfectly.  The piece is reminiscent in some ways of the work of Roybal’s uncle, Awa Tsireh.  Perhaps this piece was a tribute to his influential ancestor, but we cannot say with certainty.  Whatever the reason for its creation may have been, this is a unique and wonderful offering from J.D. Roybal.

The painting is signed J.D. Roybal in lower right.  It is framed under conservation glass and an off-white mat with a thin black interior band, in a carved wood frame.

José Disiderio “J. D.” Roybal (1922-1978) Oquwa - “Rain God” was a talented and accomplished painter from San Ildefonso Pueblo.  He is best known for his colorful and detailed depictions of San Ildefonso ceremonial rituals. He was a prolific artist, producing many small, single-figure pieces for sale.  Most of these works—in keeping with the “flat” style favored by Pueblo painters of the time—contain no background or ground plane. Roybal painted a bit during his youth but became much more productive during the 1950s.  He exhibited and sold his works most frequently and successfully during the 1960s.  He was the nephew of early San Ildefonso painter Awa Tsireh.


Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Oquwa Original Painting of Two People in a Basket Dance is from the collection of a client from Arizona

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

Relative Links: San Ildefonso PuebloTonita and Juan Cruz RoybalAlfonso Roybal - Awa TsirehpaintingTewaJ.D. Roybal, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter

Close up view of a section of this painting.