4. MARIA AS ARTIST (working with  JULIAN/SANTANA/POPOVI)

Maria and Julian

Julian’s artistic influence on Maria was complex. Maria made most of the pottery and it is her skill in creating a uniformly consistent and very fine surface that is particularly noteworthy. The close attention to detail—a hallmark of their work—is believed to have come from Julian’s influence. Many of the prehistoric designs on their work are also thought to have come from his notes taken while working for the Museum of New Mexico. Together, they developed most of the forms and decorating styles that would be used by their family for the next century. In 1943, Julian died leaving Maria to continue the production of pottery.

Maria&Julian

Maria and Julian Working Together on the
Grounds of the Governor’s Palace in Santa Fe
Unknown photographer
Circa 1920-30
1984.012.009

This carefully staged photograph shows Maria and Julian with examples of their pottery on the grounds of the Governor’s Palace in Santa Fe. Most photographs from this period show the couple working together rather than individually.

Santana and Adam Martinez Attributed to Susan Peterson working at San Ildefonso Pueblo

Santana and Adam Martinez
Attributed to Susan Peterson working at San Ildefonso Pueblo

Maria and Santana

The dynasty of potters that began with Maria and Julian encompassed not only their immediate family but also her in-laws and other relations. Santana Roybal Martinez (1909-2002) was the wife of Maria’s oldest son, Adam. She began to work with Maria in 1943 following the death of Julian. Like Julian, she decorated most of the pots that Maria shaped.

The influence of Santana on Maria’s wares can be seen both as a continuation of the high quality decoration begun by Julian, as well as the highly polished gunmetal surface that became a hallmark of their pottery in the 1950s and 1960s.

 

Maria and Popovi Da

Popovi Da (1922-1971) was Maria and Julian’s second son and continued their tradition not only of pottery making but also of involvement in pueblo government. He served as governor of the San Ildefonso Pueblo and chairman of the All-Pueblo Council.

Maria, Julian and their Son, Popovi Da Unknown photographer Circa 1930 Gift of Anita Da 1984.012.035

Maria, Julian and their Son, Popovi Da
Unknown photographer
Circa 1930
Gift of Anita Da
1984.012.035

This staged photograph shows Maria and Julian with their son, Popovi Da. Julian is wearing a trade blanket wrapped about him while Maria is in a traditional pueblo dress.

Popovi’s work with both pottery and painting began at any early age when he attended art school in Santa Fe. He began decorating pottery around 1950 when he worked with his mother and sister-in-law (Santana). By 1956, his work had become so skilled that he took over decorating Maria’s pottery in the same way his father had done. Five years later, Popovi extended the techniques of firing by creating a new pottery color—sienna — and experimented further to produce sienna and blackware pots. This is a difficult technique and involves firing a piece twice in order to obtain the two different colors.

Maria and Popovi Da Photo taken by Maurice Eloy Circa 1960 Gift of Anita Da and the estate of Popovi Da 1984.072.024

Maria and Popovi Da
Photo taken by Maurice Eloy
Circa 1960
Gift of Anita Da and the estate of Popovi Da
1984.072.024

Finally, Popovi also experimented with two innovations in pottery: inlaying a pot with turquoise and creating sgraffito ware that involved scratching off the top layer of fired clay to reveal a lighter or darker color underneath.  Both were techniques that had not been used before either by Maria or at San Ildefonso Pueblo.

Polychrome Plate Signed “Maria/Popovi” Dated August 1959 Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos 1984.033.008

Polychrome Plate
Signed “Maria/Popovi”
Dated August 1959
Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos
1984.033.008

This plate is one of the earliest examples of the partnership between Maria and Popovi Da in the museum’s collection. The use of the skunk as a design element can be traced back to some early pots and paintings done by Julian in the 1930s. This example shows some of the whimsy that Popovi Da introduced into their work. 

Polychrome Jar Signed “Maria/Popovi” Dated August 1966 Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos 1984.033.012

Polychrome Jar
Signed “Maria/Popovi”
Dated August 1966
Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos
1984.033.012

Maria and Popovi continued to make polychrome decorated pots although the complexity of the decoration increased significantly from earlier examples.

The Avanyu

The Avanyu or water serpent is the most distinctive of all the various design elements that were incorporated into Maria’s pottery. The introduction of the Avanyu is believed to have come from Julian, Maria’s husband, who described it as the head of rushing water that comes down an arroyo (gully) during and after a rainstorm.

 

Large Black-on-Black Olla with Avanyu Design Attributed to Maria and Julian Martinez Circa 1918-19 Gift of Mudd Carr Gallery 1985.025.001

Large Black-on-Black Olla with Avanyu Design
Attributed to Maria and Julian Martinez
Circa 1918-19
Gift of Mudd Carr Gallery
1985.025.001

Black-on-Black Olla with Avanyu Design Signed “Maria/Popovi” Dated July1963 Gift of Arthur and Lucy Kuriloff 1985.012.001

Black-on-Black Olla with Avanyu Design
Signed “Maria/Popovi”
Dated July1963
Gift of Arthur and Lucy Kuriloff
1985.012.001

Black-on-Black Jar with Avanyu Design Signed “Marie” Circa 1940 Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos 1983.043.002

Black-on-Black Jar with Avanyu Design
Signed “Marie”
Circa 1940
Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos
1983.043.002

Black-on-Black Olla with Avanyu Design Signed  “Marie/Julian” Circa 1940 Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos 1983.043.003

Black-on-Black Olla with Avanyu Design
Signed “Marie/Julian”
Circa 1940
Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos
1983.043.003

These three pots spanning approximately 25 years of production show the remarkable consistency of form and decoration that Maria and her family achieved particularly as it relates to the use of the Avanyu design.

 

 

Polychrome Pottery

These two pots with their many-colored (polychrome) exteriors show the connection between the older style pottery of the 19th century and earlier with the new innovations in decoration that Maria and Julian were introducing.

Polychrome Olla with Avanyu Design Signed “Marie /Julian” Circa 1930 Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos 1984.074.001

Polychrome Olla with Avanyu Design
Signed “Marie /Julian”
Circa 1930
Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos
1984.074.001

Polychrome Olla with Avanyu Design Signed “Maria/Popovi” Dated 1957 Gift of the estate of Paul Peralta-Ramos 2004.3.72

Polychrome Olla with Avanyu Design
Signed “Maria/Popovi”
Dated 1957
Gift of the estate of Paul Peralta-Ramos
2004.3.72

Squash Blossom Necklace Worn and Owned by Maria Martinez Unknown Zuni maker Circa 1960 Gift of Janice Da Parker 1982.069.001

Squash Blossom Necklace Worn and Owned by Maria Martinez
Unknown Zuni maker
Circa 1960
Gift of Janice Da Parker
1982.069.001

This is the same necklace that Maria wore when visiting the White House in 1967.

Bracelet Worn and Owned by Maria Martinez Unknown Zuni maker Circa 1920 Gift of Anita Da 1982.012.021

Bracelet Worn and Owned by Maria Martinez
Unknown Zuni maker
Circa 1920
Gift of Anita Da
1982.012.021

Earrings Worn and Owned by Maria Martinez Unknown Navajo maker Circa 1930 Gift of Anita Da and the estate of Popovi Da 1984.072.031

Earrings Worn and Owned by Maria Martinez
Unknown Navajo maker
Circa 1930
Gift of Anita Da and the estate of Popovi Da
1984.072.031

Photograph of Maria Martinez, Ladybird Johnson, Mrs. Stewart Udall, Edna Massy and Popovi Da Official White House photographer Dated 1967 Gift of Anita Da 1984.012.021

Photograph of Maria Martinez, Ladybird Johnson, Mrs. Stewart Udall, Edna Massy and Popovi Da
Official White House photographer
Dated 1967
Gift of Anita Da
1984.012.021

Jacket owned by Maria Martinez Unknown maker, Circa 1950s Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos 1991.037.001

Jacket owned by Maria Martinez
Unknown maker,
Circa 1950s
Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos
1991.037.001

Maria may have owned this jacket, although there is some debate within her family about its history. In the photographs, Maria is shown wearing traditional tribal mantas. A manta is a dress pinned on the right shoulder and worn by Pueblo women.

Variations on a Theme

This pair of closely related jars shows the continuity of Maria’s style over a fifteen-year period. In form, they relate to the olla or traditional water jar. Unlike that traditional form, they are narrower, taller and have a distinctive flair to the mouth that separates them from older pieces. These jars show Maria’s expanding artistic awareness as she was exposed to studio pieces in her travels from New York to California.

Black Jar Signed “Maria/Santana” Dated 1953 Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos 1983.043.004

Black Jar
Signed “Maria/Santana”
Dated 1953
Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos
1983.043.004

Red Jar Signed “Maria/Popovi” Dated 1968 Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos 1983.043.005

Red Jar
Signed “Maria/Popovi”
Dated 1968
Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos
1983.043.005

Black-on-Black Plate with Avanyu Design Signed “Adam/Santana” Dated November 1973 Gift of Rick Dillingham 1989.023.001

Black-on-Black Plate with Avanyu Design
Signed “Adam/Santana”
Dated November 1973
Gift of Rick Dillingham
1989.023.001

Santana and Adam Martinez Attributed to Susan Peterson working at San Ildefonso Pueblo Dated 1976 Gift of the Gonzales family 2003.004.043

Santana and Adam Martinez
Attributed to Susan Peterson working at San Ildefonso Pueblo
Dated 1976
Gift of the Gonzales family
2003.004.043

 

Variations on a Form

Shown here are several different interpretations in surface and decoration of the simple table bowl or plate. These purely decorative items were produced initially as pieces to be hung on a wall or placed behind a plate rail. The fashion for decorating with plates was particularly popular in the pre-World War Two era and then again in the late 1960s and 1970s. They were also used as the centerpiece for a table although generally those examples were more bowl-shaped.

 

Notice how Maria’s style changed and evolved over the years. It was not always the case that she did simple work in the early years and then more complex work later. Rather, she could produce all manner of work from complex to simple depending upon her own interests as well as that of the market.

Black-on-Black Jar with Avanyu Design Signed “Marie/Santana” Circa 1950 Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos 1993.017.028

Black-on-Black Jar with Avanyu Design
Signed “Marie/Santana”
Circa 1950
Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos
1993.017.028

The partnership between Maria and Santana began after the death of Julian in 1943. Produced probably early in their partnership, the Avanyu or water serpent has a much wider body than would occur later.

Black-on-Black Bowl Signed “Marie” Dated 1925 Gift of Charles Alberle 1982.075.001

Black-on-Black Bowl
Signed “Marie”
Dated 1925
Gift of Charles Alberle
1982.075.001

Black-on-Black Plate Signed “Maria/Santana” Circa 1940-70 Gift of Caroline and William Parr 1981.064.001

Black-on-Black Plate
Signed “Maria/Santana”
Circa 1940-70
Gift of Caroline and William Parr
1981.064.001

Black-on-Black Plate with Avanyu Design Signed “Adam/Santana” Dated November 1973 Gift of Rick Dillingham 1989.023.001

Black-on-Black Plate with Avanyu Design
Signed “Adam/Santana”
Dated November 1973
Gift of Rick Dillingham
1989.023.001

This plate was made by Santana and her husband Adam, who was Maria’s first son. The water serpent has become thinner and more fluid in its execution than the earlier example done when Santana was in partnership with Maria.

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