Serigraph of Hopi Ogre Katsina [SOLD]


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Louie Ewing (1908-1983)

During the Great Depression, in order to help Americans obtain work, the federal government initiated the New Deal. Under President Roosevelt, federal funds were given to states to build public buildings, finance art projects and collect local history. The governor of New Mexico at the time was Clyde Tingley, a notorious character whom Roosevelt took a liking to. Tingley visited the White House 23 times while he was governor and as a result, per capita, New Mexicans received the fifth highest amount of federal funds nationwide. In regard to education, New Mexico received the highest amount of New Deal funds per capita than any other state.

One artist who benefited from the funds given to New Mexico was Louie Ewing. He was chosen to head the *WPA printmaking workshop in Santa Fe where he became one of the first artists in the United States to use serigraphy as a method to document and record local traditional artwork. Under WPA funding he opened a studio and produced serigraph portfolios of Navajo weavings and Spanish Colonial art. He worked in the 1940s teaching the process at the Santa Fe Indian School where Harrison Begay and Woody Crumbo were among his students.

In this serigraph Ewing has colorfully depicted an Ogre Kachina. The function of Ogre Katsinas is to show any Hopi who fails to perform his share of work or who acts in an unacceptable manner the error of his ways.  Ewing took some liberties in his depiction of the katsina. His depiction does not follow the traditional style of Chaveyo or the Nataska Katsinas. It is closer to the traditional depiction of Chaveyo with some oversights.  That, of course, is an artist’s prerogative. Ewing simply named it Katchina.

Louie Ewing (1908-1983) signatureIn that serigraphy requires a screen for every color, the process for making this lively Kachina serigraph was labor intensive. Ewing artistically rendered at least five shades of tan and brown along with brighter shades of green, orange and red. The final product dances across the canvas with colors and authentic motifs that are associated with the Chaveyo Kachina. As mentioned before, this piece is labeled “Katchina” and signed by Louie Ewing. It is matted and framed using museum quality materials.

*The Works Progress Administration (WPA; renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration) was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. - Wikipedia

Condition: The Serigraph of Hopi Ogre Katsina is in excellent condition.

Provenance: From a Santa Fe Collector who is downsizing

Recommended Reading: Printmaking in New Mexico by Clinton Adams

Louie Ewing (1908-1983)
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