José Angela Aguilar, San Ildefonso Pueblo Painter
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San Ildefonso artists Rosalie Simbola Aguilar and Joe Aguilar pottery vessel creations seem to be rarer and more collectible than most. Although they may have been prolific potters, they were producing at a time before pueblo pottery became a serious collectible and most likely most of the wares they sold before the 1940s have long ago been discarded and destroyed. Hopefully, several of their pottery vessels are in museum collections.
Rosalie Simbola Aguilar (1898-1947) was originally from Picuris Pueblo. In 1922, at the age of 24, she married José (Joe) Angela Aguilar (1898-1965) of San Ildefonso Pueblo and they settled there. The couple had eleven children over a period of twenty-four years, yet, Rosalie and Joe found time to produce beautiful pottery in the San Ildefonso style. Rosalie, in addition to producing Black-on-black pottery also made carved designs. She and Rose Gonzales were the only two potters at the pueblo to produce carved wares and both were imports from other pueblos.
Joe Aguilar had painted pottery for his mother, Suzanna Martinez Aguilar, and was an exceptional painter. Kenneth Chapman listed Joe among 15 artists at San Ildefonso who painted pottery before 1940. Joe's son, Alfred Aguilar, said that his dad formed pots as well as painted them. If so, he would have been among the earliest males to do so.
Jonathan Batkin included Rosalie in his article Three Great Potters of San Ildefonso, published in American Indian Art Magazine in 1991. That gives one an idea of just how great she and her husband were at making contemporary pottery. There is no mention of him in either Clara Lee Tanner's book or in Dorothy Dunn's book as a painter of paintings; however, there are other references that indicate he was. Snodgrass, in her book, stated "The artist has been actively engaged in art and related subjects since 1944. In 1949, he began painting experiments in new directions." Seymour stated, "In 1987 the artist was working in the California aerospace industry doing technical drawings and only an occasional painting for friends."
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