Mary Histia (1893/1895-1973)


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Mary Histia (1881 -1973) Acoma Pueblo.  Photo courtesy of the Jeffrey Trent Collection.

Mary Histia, is recognized as certainly the finest Acoma Pueblo potter of the early 20th century. According to Batkin, she traveled to Washington DC and became popular as an unofficial potter to President Roosevelt. Her pottery soon decorated many government offices.

Mary Histia deserves to be classed as a Modernist. Her art is old, yet alive and dynamic-an expression of a continuing vigor. She did not confine her art to a mere repetition of her previous work, nor did she resort to meaningless geometric designs, but she continually experimented and added to her repertoire. Her designs are at once classic and modern.

References:

Text:  Southern Pueblo Pottery: 2,000 Artist Biographies by Gregory Schaaf.

Below Image by AC Vroman.

Image right courtesy of the Jeffrey Trent Collection.

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Photo by AC Vroman of Mary Concho Brown.

For over a hundred years, the famous Adam Clark Vroman photograph of an Acoma woman holding a beautiful jar, which is labeled “Acoma Mary holding olla, 1900,” was thought to be of Mary Histia. Because of the photograph, she has been called “Acoma Mary” but the caption was meant to be the location at Acoma and a potter named Mary, not Acoma Mary, but Acoma, Mary . . .

In 2013, a book, The Pottery of Acoma Pueblo by Dwight Lanmon and Francis Harlow, stated that the photograph is not Mary Histia, but a photograph of Mary Concho Brown.  They did publish two photographs of Mary Histia in the same book. This is only information to clarify the confusion on photographs of Mary Histia.For over a hundred years, the famous Adam Clark Vroman photograph of an Acoma woman holding a beautiful jar, which is labeled “Acoma Mary holding olla, 1900,” was thought to be of Mary Histia. Because of the photograph, she has been called “Acoma Mary” but the caption was meant to be the location at Acoma and a potter named Mary, not Acoma Mary, but Acoma, Mary . . .

In 2013, a book, The Pottery of Acoma Pueblo by Dwight Lanmon and Francis Harlow, stated that the photograph is not Mary Histia, but a photograph of Mary Concho Brown.  They did publish two photographs of Mary Histia in the same book. This is only information to clarify the confusion on photographs of Mary Histia.