“Blue Corn Maiden” Original Painting by Helen Hardin [SOLD]


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Helen Hardin, Santa Clara Pueblo Painter

This original painting by Santa Clara Pueblo artist Helen Hardin is titled “Blue Corn Maiden.”  Compared to the Hardin originals that have passed through our doors recently, this is a smaller piece.  Its modest scale works well, as the image is so rich in energy and color that a larger presentation might actually be a bit too much.  Hardin’s subject is a young Hopi woman.  She raises her hands up, making some sort of emphatic gesture as her wide, bright eyes gaze just past the viewer.  She wears a traditional dress, which Hardin decorated with a lively pattern, and holds a basket full of cornmeal. 

In the background, Hardin created a deep and intriguing combination of patterns and textures.  These intricate backgrounds are typical of Hardin’s works, but each one is different, and they are always a pleasure to explore.  This one uses heavy applications of atomized paints to create a coarse cloud of color over a winding series of geometric patterns.  The woman herself is smooth and pristine, untouched by the hazy dots of color that cover the background.  These two textures contrast sharply and beautifully, elevating each other’s effects and somehow enhancing the young woman’s appeal. “Blue Corn Maiden” is a wonderful image from one of the most consistently inventive Pueblo painters.

Artist Signature and hallmark spruce tree of Helen Hardin (1943-1984) Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh or “Little Standing Spruce”The painting is signed Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh in the lower right.  It is framed in the original frame, which uses two frames with a red stain and a cream-colored fabric mat.  On a piece of cardboard attached to the back of the painting, the following text is handwritten: “‘Blue Corn Maiden’, a contemporary Indian painting by Helen Hardin Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh, Santa Clara Artist.”

Helen Hardin (1943-1984) Tsa-Sah-Wee-Eh or “Little Standing Spruce” was an innovative and influential painter from New Mexico’s Santa Clara Pueblo.  Hardin was born in 1943 to Santa Clara Pueblo painter Pablita Velarde and Caucasian civil servant Herbert Hardin. Inspired by her mother, she began creating and selling paintings as a teenager.  She went in a different direction than her mother and her mother’s peers, creating more contemporary works that depict Native American symbology with striking geometrical patterns and abstract imagery. She died of cancer in 1984, leaving behind an astounding body of work for her many admirers to enjoy.

Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this "Blue Corn Maiden" Original Painting by Helen Hardin is from the estate of an Albuquerque family

Recommended Reading: Changing Woman: The Life and Art of Helen Hardin by Jay Scott

Relative Links: Helen HardinSanta Clara PuebloPablita VelardeNative American symbolsNative American Paintings

Close up view of a section of this painting.