San Ildefonso Buff on Red Plate signed Marie + Santana [SOLD]


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Maria and Santana Martinez

Redware by Maria Martinez is among the rarest of all the pottery she produced. Blackware was so popular with collectors that she rarely fired any redware. Early pieces like this one, signed Marie & Santana, produced shortly after Julian passed away, are also rare—maybe even rarer than pieces by Maria and Julian.

This buff-on-red plate is a beautiful example of Maria's redware work. It's a flat, open form with a slightly upturned rim. The skill with which it was executed is evident in its sophisticated look. A perfectly polished red slip covers the front, and red unpolished slip covers the back. When spending time with this piece, it is easy to see why Maria's pottery remains especially popular with today's collectors.

In 1977, an interview with Maria revealed that Santana learned to make pottery after she married Adam. They lived with Maria for seven years and Santana made pottery at that time. Adam and Santana married in 1925 and, presumably, moved in with Maria at that time.

Artists signatures of Santana (1909-2002) and Maria Martinez (1887-1980) Poveka of San Ildefonso PuebloAfter Julian passed away in 1943, Santana began to assist Maria with her pottery, primarily painting the designs, as had Julian. She continued doing so until Popovi Da started helping his mom around 1954. The pottery made by Maria and Santana during that period was signed Marie + Santana. That would include this Buff-on-red plate which was probably made during the mid-part of their collaboration, say in the early 1950s.

Maria was the matriarch of San Ildefonso pottery, and her pieces never fail to enchant. She made pottery for the better part of a century and collaborated with many of her talented family members. Stories float between biographies and individuals surrounding Maria's skills and generosity of heart. It is easy to imagine enjoying the process of either learning from her or working with her.

It is likely that Adam assisted in the process by building the firing kiln and overseeing the firing. Maria certainly would have been there to supervise the process.

Although the process of making pottery developed between husband and wife in her earlier life, Maria was somehow able to move through the loss of Julian with a continuity of artistic creation. There may have been a healing element to her undertaking, or potentially an undying drive to create, alongside the need to support her family. With this iconic plate the result was, yet again, something astounding.

Condition: structurally in very good condition but there are some minor surface scratches that are not distracting but do exist.

Provenance: this San Ildefonso Buff on Red Plate signed Marie + Santana was sold by us to a client from Santa Fe from whose collection we now have it to sell again.

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

TAGS: SantanaSan Ildefonso PuebloMaria MartinezJulian MartinezSouthwest Indian PotterySantana and Adam MartinezDominguita Pino MartinezAwa TsirehMaria and Santana Martinez

Alternate side view of this plate.

Maria and Santana Martinez
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