San Ildefonso Black on Black Plate signed Marie and Santana

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Maria Montoya Poveka Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potter

“After Julian’s death in 1943, Maria began working with Adam’s wife, Santana Martinez.  Maria made the pottery and Santana painted the designs. Artistically, the Marie and Santana period is an extension of the late Marie and Julian period, as the same type and style of pottery (Black-on-black and occasional Buff-on-red or Polished red) continued to be produced, although with less emphasis on larger pieces.

Santana came from an impressive background.  Her brother was Awa Tsireh (Alfonso Roybal), considered by many critics to be the most talented of all Pueblo artists, and her mother was Alfonsita Martinez Roybal, an accomplished potter.  Her uncle, Crescencio Martinez, was San Ildefonso’s first painter, one of its most gifted artists, and a pottery decorator; his wife was Maria’s oldest sister, Maximiliana. Her aunt, Tonita Martinez Roybal, was generally considered Maria’s closest competitor in pottery making, and her grandmother, Domingita Pino Martinez, was also one of San Ildefonso’s better potters, known for her superior Black-on-red ware.” Spivey 2003

Santana continued painting Maria’s pottery until 1956, when Maria Martinez began a partnership with her son, Popovi Da.  Pottery made during this 1943 to 1956 period was signed “Marie & Santana.” In a later collaboration, their pottery was signed “Maria & Santana.”  This change in signature facilitates dating their pottery wares within a decade.

Pottery made during this 1943 to 1956 period was signed “Marie & Santana.”  This Black-on-black plate, with an eagle feather design—a design Julian reintroduced from that used by the Mimbres culture a thousand years earlier— has the signatures “Marie & Santana” so we can state that it dates from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s.


Condition: this San Ildefonso Black on Black Plate signed Marie and Santana is in good condition.  There is a half-inch slip crack at the rim, otherwise good condition. There are minor divots in the clay resulting from the original stone polishing efforts. This is not considered a fault or damage.

Provenance: from the collection of a family from Oregon

Reference: The Legacy of Maria Poveka Martinez by Richard L. Spivey

Close up view of Eagle Feather design pattern.