San Ildefonso Pueblo Polished Blackware Jar signed “Maria Poveka” [SOLD]


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Maria Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potter

This polished blackware jar was created by Maria Martinez of San Ildefonso Pueblo. The piece is unpainted, and signed Maria Poveka. This signature on undecorated blackware, according to Richard Spivey, started being used in 1956 and was abandoned in the mid-1960s, so it lasted only a decade. However, in 1959, Popovi Da started adding a date to the pottery signatures, even those signed "Maria Poveka." That fact would shorten the period of undated Maria Poveka pottery to the 1956-1959 period.

Maria's unpainted works—made without the assistance of her family members, who added painted designs—are undoubtedly some of her finest. There is an elegance to these pieces that is highlighted by the absence of painted design work.

Artist signature of Maria Poveka Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo PotterThis particular piece has a form that is most unusual. With its low, wide form, it is reminiscent of Hopi seed jars. The notable difference is the base, which is wider and flatter than the typical Hopi example. We'll never know what inspired this deviation from the norm, but it was a great success. This is a beautiful and unique example of Maria Martinez' work.

The bottom of the jar is signed Maria Poveka.

San Ildefonso Pueblo artist Maria Martinez (1887-1980) Poveka is probably the most famous of all pueblo potters. She and her husband Julian discovered in 1918 how to produce the now-famous black-on-black pottery, and they spent the remainder of their careers perfecting and producing it for museums and collectors worldwide. Maria collaborated with a number of family members over the years and also made unpainted pieces on her own. She is one of the most influential and historically significant Native artists. Her works are included in major museum collections around the world.

Condition: very good condition, a few very small slip abrasions

Provenance: this San Ildefonso Pueblo Polished Blackware Jar signed "Maria Poveka" is from a private New Mexico collection

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


Maria Martinez, San Ildefonso Pueblo Potter
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