Colorful Pueblo Corn Dance Scene by Tonita Peña [SOLD]


+ Add to my watchlist Forward to Friend

Tonita Vigil Peña, Quah Ah, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter

This original painting was created in the 1930s or 1940s by San Ildefonso Pueblo artist Tonita Peña.  The image features two pueblo people performing a Corn Dance.  On the right, a man holds a tall and elaborate flag.  On the left, a drummer follows, raising his drumstick and opening his mouth in song.  All of this, of course, is typical of Peña’s work, but these dancers are particularly strong in color and rich in texture.  A close look reveals some of the finest work we’ve seen from Peña.

The painting’s most immediately striking attribute is its gorgeous color scheme.  Peña’s beautiful blues, greens and yellows look as though they were painted yesterday.  Each tone is rich and attractive, with layered paints creating interesting textural variations in certain areas.  Peña elevated these colors’ effects by painting the entire background white, covering what looks like a light brown color.  This was an unusual but effective decision.  The figures themselves are excellent, and the tall flag features some of the finest detail we’ve seen in Peña’s work.  This is a truly wonderful example of Tonita Peña’s work.

Artist Signature and Hallmark of Tonita Vigil Peña, Quah Ah, San Ildefonso Pueblo PainterThe painting is signed Quah Ah and Tonita Peña in lower right, with an elaborate storm motif.  This identifies the piece as having been completed after 1930.  The painting is framed tastefully, using a carved wood frame and a white mat board with a black interior band.

Tonita Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah was born in 1893 at the small New Mexico pueblo of San Ildefonso.  The pueblo is located on the Rio Grande, just north of Santa Fe. When Peña was just twelve years old, her mother passed away. Her father, unable to raise her while tending to his responsibilities at the pueblo, took her to live with her aunt and uncle at Cochiti Pueblo.  This was where she would spend the remainder of her life. 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 Martinez, Alfonso Roybal, Abel Sanchez, Crescencio Martinez, and Encarnación Peña.  These artists were the earliest known pueblo painters. Today, their works are highly collectible because of both historical significance and quality.

Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Colorful Pueblo Corn Dance Scene by Tonita Peña is from a private collection

Recommended Reading: Tonita Peña by Samuel Lewis Gray

Relative Links: San IldefonsoSanta FeCochiti PuebloJulian MartinezAlfonso RoybalAbel SanchezCrecencio MartinezEncarnación PeñaAlbuquerquepaintingsJoe HerreraTonita Vigil Peña, Quah Ah, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter

Alternate close up view of a section of this painting.