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Unfinished, Unfired and Unsigned Polychrome Shallow Bowl

C3512-02-plate.jpg

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Maria Montoya Poveka Martinez (1887-1980) Pond Lily
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: clay
  • Size: 11-3/8” diameter x 2” deep
  • Item # C3512.02
  • Price: $2,500.00

This plate was made by Maria and, for some reason, never finished.  There is an X carved into the underside, probably either Maria’s or Popovi’s indication of an imperfect piece.  A handwritten letter, dated July 25, 2008, from Maria Swinford, great granddaughter of Maria and granddaughter of Popovi Da that reads as follows:

 

Dear ……..,

            No one is perfect…although Maria lived to achieve perfection, not every piece of pottery she created met her expectations.  Her dissatisfaction in this piece becomes our amazement.  This piece is amazing in that it reveals the raw, natural beauty that was my great grand-mother Maria.  Although this piece is not signed, I can assure you it has been in the familys’ possession since its creation.  This piece was only displayed at the family’s personal museum, ‘Popovi Da Studio of Indian Art.’  This piece has been stored and boxed for almost twenty years.  Because this piece has never been fired, it is extremely fragile and very sensitive to the elements.  It is my presumption, because it is not of perfect shape, Maria deemed it unsatisfactory and never chose to finish this piece.  This piece is a true find and can only be appreciated by a real Maria collector.  It is my hope that your family will continue to embrace the legacy of Maria and cherish all that you may.  I sincerely appreciate your interest and most importantly thank you for your love of the art!”

 Your friend, Maria Swinford

 

It seems more likely that when the shallow bowl was passed on to Popovi Da for his task of decorating it, he would be the one to determine that it was not of the quality he was interested in finishing.  Because the buff slip would have been applied by Maria, which would complete her involvement, it would then pass on to Popovi to be decorated.  That is probably when he decided not to decorate it but to display it in his museum as an example of pottery in production.

 

Condition: as new

Provenance: from the collection of a family from Pennsylvania

Reference and Recommended Reading: The Legacy of Maria Poveka Martinez by Richard L. Spivey, 2003

 

close up view of the back

Maria Montoya Poveka Martinez (1887-1980) Pond Lily
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Origin: San Ildefonso Pueblo
  • Medium: clay
  • Size: 11-3/8” diameter x 2” deep
  • Item # C3512.02
  • Price: $2,500.00

C3512-02-plate.jpgC3512-02-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.