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San Ildefonso Corn Dance Celebration by Tonita Peña [SOLD]

C3904A-paint.jpg

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Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: Opaque watercolor on paper
  • Size:
    13-5/8” x 21-1/2” image;
    21-3/4” x 29-5/8” framed
  • Item # C3904A
  • SOLD

Tonita Peña – Image Source:  from the book Tonita Peña by Samuel L. Gray.  Photo by T. Harmon Parkhurst.  Museum of New Mexico Fine Arts Collection, negative #46988.This is a major presentation by Tonita Peña of a Corn Dance Celebration, with 17 participants.  The procession is led by a banner carrier and trailed by a drummer and five chanters.  The dancers are paired by two men, followed by two women, followed by two men and followed by two women.  There are two Koosa Clowns.  San Ildefonso celebrates the Corn Dance in September, harvest time.

Peña's usual treatment is concerned with several dance figures in a line led by a Corn Dance Banner Carrier and followed by a drummer, as shown in this painting. Generally, there are women in her paintings, as shown here, and, as a rule, these women are taking a definite part in the dance as shown in the sensitive action of the feet.  She presented the men with more active steps. This type of action, peculiar to Peña, is well illustrated here.

Peña was born at San Ildefonso Pueblo, but was sent by her father, following the death of her mother, to live with an aunt at Cochiti Pueblo at the age of 12. She spent the remainder of her life there.

Tonita Peña was the only woman in the group of talented early pueblo artists referred to as The San Ildefonso Self-Taught Group, which included such noted artists as Julian MartinezAlfonso RoybalAbel SanchezCrecencio Martinez, and Encarnación Peña.  The men accepted her as an equal.

Artist Signature - Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah AhBy the time she was 25 years old, she was a successful easel artist, and her work was being shown in museum exhibitions and in commercial art galleries in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. She painted what she knew best—scenes of life at the pueblo—mostly ceremonial dances and everyday events. She is still considered one of the best female Indian artists of all time and is recognized as the very first female Pueblo artist to pursue art as a career.

The painting is signed in lower right and dates to 1921.  It has recently been framed with archival materials, a wood frame, and museum protective glass.

 

Condition: this San Ildefonso Corn Dance Celebration by Tonita Peña is in very good condition and the colors are still vivid.

Provenance: from a Santa Fe resident

Recommended Reading: Tonita Peña by Samuel Lewis Gray

Close up view of the dancers.

Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: Opaque watercolor on paper
  • Size:
    13-5/8” x 21-1/2” image;
    21-3/4” x 29-5/8” framed
  • Item # C3904A
  • SOLD

C3904A-paint.jpgC3904A-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.