Alfonso Roybal (1898-1955) Awa Tsireh

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Alfonso Roybal (1898-1955) Awa Tsireh - signature

Alfonso Roybal (1898-1955) Awa Tsireh was many things to his pueblo of San Ildefonso: he was a farmer, pottery painter, museum employee, painter and silversmith. He was born in 1898 and died in 1955.  He had many trades and skills, but is remembered today as a painter.  His works are part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's permanent collection.

Awa Tsireh was painting before 1917. He was the oldest of the early group of pueblo painters. His formal education had not extended beyond primary grades. He was versatile in his styles of painting. He was equally comfortable with representational or semi-realistic, representational plus conventional, and abstract.

Awa Tsireh was early recognized beyond his native world as an outstanding Indian artist. His watercolors where sent by Alice Corbin Henderson to the Arts Club of Chicago for a special exhibit in 1920. His paintings appeared in early exhibits in Santa Fe, and he was among the several artists to receive prizes at the first Santa Fe Indian Market. In 1925, the Chicago papers were generous in their acclaim for his exhibit in the Newberry Library. The Exposition of Indian Tribal Arts in New York in 1931 included Awa Tsireh paintings.

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