Original Painting titled “Buffalo Dancers”


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José Encarnacion Peña, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter

"Buffalo Dancers" is an original painting by José Encarnación Peña, or "Soqween," a San Ildefonso Pueblo artist. Soqween's unique variation of the traditional pueblo "flat" style of painting won him many admirers during his long career. Adobe Gallery has handled many of his works over the years, and we can say with certainty that this is one of the strongest examples we've seen.

Two rows of dance participants appear. Drummers and singers comprise the back row. The front row includes a dancer carrying a bow and arrows, two women carrying baskets and feathers, and the two titular Buffalo Dancers. As far as subject matter and composition go, this piece is not out of the ordinary, but the way the scene was executed stands out as particularly strong. The figures appear in sharper-than-usual detail, the color palette is expansive and attractive, and there's a wonderful sense of motion to the scene. Soqween's loose, unusual style remains intact, which preserves the undeniable charm that is inherent to the artist's work.

Artist signature of José Encarnacion Peña, Soqween, San Ildefonso Pueblo PainterThe painting is signed Soqween and titled "Buffalo Dancers" in lower right. It is framed under two tiers of matting in a black frame.

José Encarnación Peña (1902-1979) Soqween - "So Kwa A Weh" (Frost on the Mountain) was painting at San Ildefonso Pueblo at the same time as Tonita Peña, Richard Martínez, Luís Gonzales, Abel Sánchez, and Romando Vigil. In his early years, he was not as prolific as his peers. It was during the last ten years of his life that he became most productive. He is represented in the collections of the Laboratory of Anthropology, Santa Fe; Museum of New Mexico; Denver Art Museum; and many others. Though similar in spirit, Soqween's works are very different from those of his contemporaries. His works are simple, often using just two or three colors. His outlines, often done in light gray, are less important to his compositions than the thick blocks of bold colors with which they are filled. These blocks of color are the tools with which he composed his subjects: pueblo dancers, in traditional regalia, often viewed head-on instead of in profile. Soqween's style is a simple, charming, and unusual variation of the "flat" style that he and his peers were taught at the Santa Fe Indian School.


Provenance: this Original Painting titled "Buffalo Dancers" is from a private collection of a client of Adobe Gallery

Recommended Reading: Southwest Indian Painting: a Changing Art by Clara Lee Tanner

TAGS: paintingSan Ildefonso PuebloTonita PeñaRichard MartínezLuís GonzalesAbel SánchezRomando VigilTonita PeñaSanta FeDorothy DunnJosé Encarnacion Peña

Close-up view of a section of this painting.

José Encarnacion Peña, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter
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