San Ildefonso Pueblo Polished Black Pottery Bowl signed Maria Poveka

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Maria Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potter

Artist Signature and Date - Maria Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo PotterThis beautiful stone-polished black pottery bowl was a collaborative effort by San Ildefonso Pueblo artist Maria Martinez and members of her family.  It is signed on the underside Maria Poveka and dated 763 (July 1963). Pieces by Maria that have a date inscribed are among the most popular with collectors. Pottery signed Maria Poveka generally are considered to have been made by Maria alone, but that is a mistaken assumption.  Maria had help from many family members.  She, herself, made the bowl, but gathering the clay, pulverizing, and purifying it, and working it into a usable product was performed by Adam and Popovi.  Stone polishing was generally by Maria’s sister, Clara.  Firing was a family process. (See video below).  Adding the date to the pottery was the idea of Popovi Da.  On painted pottery, Santana was instrumental after Julian died.  Maria’s sister, Clara, spent most of her adult life polishing pottery for Maria.  Clara was deaf so Maria supported her with this work. It is quite likely that Clara polished this bowl, then Popovi Da and Adam fired it, assisted by other family members.  

In 1948, Popovi and his wife, Anita Da, following his assignment at working on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, opened the Popovi Da Studio of Indian Arts at San Ildefonso Pueblo.  Originally, the plan was to have an outlet for the sale of Maria’s pottery, so that she could concentrate on her work without having to sell it herself.  Additionally, it would provide him a place to paint and sell his art.  The Da’s soon found that they needed more inventory, so they began purchasing pottery from the finest artists.  It was not long before The Studio became famous as having the finest Indian art.  There were no curio items, only fine art pieces. [Spivey, 2003:91]

It is quite likely that this bowl was sold through The Popovi Da Studio at the pueblo.


Condition: this San Ildefonso Pueblo Polished Black Pottery Bowl signed Maria Poveka is in very good condition

Provenance: from the collection of a family from San Diego, California

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

Relative Links: Pueblo Pottery, San Ildefonso PuebloPopovi DaSantana and Adam MartinezJulian MartinezMaria Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potter

Maria Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potter
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