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San Ildefonso Single Figure Female Dancer with Tableta

C3883b-paint.jpg

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Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: opaque watercolor
  • Size:
    10-3/8” x 6-7/8” image;
    11-1/4” x 7-3/8” framed
  • Item # C3883B
  • Price: $850.00

Tonita Peña was born at San Ildefonso Pueblo in 1893 and lived there with her parents until her mother passed away around 1905 when Tonita was 12 years old.  Unable to tend his fields and raise a young daughter, her father sent Tonita to Cochiti Pueblo to live with her aunt and uncle.  Tonita spoke Tewa, the language of San Ildefonso, and had to learn Keres, the language of Cochiti Pueblo.  Having lost her mother, and essentially lost her father, and having to learn a new language and fit a society of which she was unfamiliar must have been traumatic for a young girl.

 

Tonita painted scenes of San Ildefonso ceremonial life as she remembered it and became a very famous painter.  She is considered the very first pueblo female painter who succeeded in the male-dominated field of art.  She was accepted by the men as an equal, although that probably took some time before it happened.  She has also always been recognized as a painter from San Ildefonso, because that was her family home.  She is never listed as an artist from Cochiti.

 

Artist Signature - Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah AhThis is one of Tonita’s early paintings, based on the style of her signature.  It is a signature style used in 1920 and, quite possibly, the only year she used just her baptismal name.  She changed her signature element in 1921.

 

Tonita was a successful and recognized artist by 1921, 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.

 

The frame is of the style of those on many of the Pueblo paintings that were displayed in La Fonda Hotel on the plaza at the end of the Santa Fe trail.  Most of those paintings were removed from the rooms in the mid-1950s during a remodeling phase.  They were eventually sold to the public.  It is quite possible, too, that this frame is a newer one that was made in the style of the old La Fonda frames.

 

Condition: appears to be in original condition

Provenance: from a family living in Corrales, New Mexico

Recommended ReadingThrough Their Eyes: Indian Painting in Santa Fe, 1918-1945

Close up view of the Female Dancer with Tableta

Tonita Vigil Peña (1893-1949) Quah Ah
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: opaque watercolor
  • Size:
    10-3/8” x 6-7/8” image;
    11-1/4” x 7-3/8” framed
  • Item # C3883B
  • Price: $850.00

C3883b-paint.jpgC3883B-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.