6. MARIA’S FAMILY AND CULTURE (MATRIARCH)

 

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.

 

Maria and Her Sisters

By no means was Maria the only member of her generation of Montoyas to be a potter. Several of her sisters were also accomplished potters, decorators and polishers. There is evidence both in their works and surviving photographs to suggest that all of the Montoya sisters shared ideas, techniques and motifs. All of them signed their own wares and had followings.

 

The Montoya Sisters (right to left: Clara, Desideria, Maria, Anna, Juanita) Unknown photographer Circa 1930 Gift of the Da family

The Montoya Sisters (right to left: Clara, Desideria, Maria, Anna, Juanita)
Unknown photographer
Circa 1930
Gift of the Da family

Shown in this photograph are Maria and her sisters. All but Juanita are known to have made pottery in a similar style and technique. Interesting to note is that the basket shown in this photograph is the same one as in the exhibit.

Basket Unknown Jicarilla Apache maker traded to Maria Martinez for pottery Circa 1920-30 Gift of Anita Da and the estate of Popovi Da 1984.072.027

Basket
Unknown Jicarilla Apache maker traded to Maria Martinez for pottery
Circa 1920-30
Gift of Anita Da and the estate of Popovi Da
1984.072.027

This basket was traded to Maria for one of her pots. Such trades are common within the Indian community.

 

 

The Work of Tony Da

Tony Da was Maria’s grandson by her second son, Popovi Da. Tony worked closely with both his father and grandmother in the 1960s and 1970s. His work represents a natural extension of both the artistic and technical innovations that were begun by both.

Tony is credited with working with Maria to introduce the turquoise and stone inlay work that is used today by many potters. His work is often characterized by both a heightened sense of whimsy as seen in the three dimensional animals shown here, as well as a technical virtuosity.

Exhibited here is a sampling of the rich range of pottery that Tony produced in his fifty-year career as a potter.

Inlaid Jar Signed “Maria/Popovi” inlay work attributed to Tony Da Dated 1970 Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos 1984.033.006

Inlaid Jar
Signed “Maria/Popovi” inlay work attributed to Tony Da
Dated 1970
Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos
1984.033.006

 

This was one of the first pieces of pottery produced by Maria incorporating the use of turquoise inlays. The sienna color on the top was an innovation of Popovi Da’s to expand the line of colors available in the pottery. The use of inlay was by Tony Da, a grandson of Maria.

Owl Unsigned by Tony Da Circa 1970 Gift of Anita Da 1982.067.037

Owl
Unsigned by Tony Da
Circa 1970
Gift of Anita Da
1982.067.037


According to the Da family, this is one of only two pottery owls Tony Da produced during his life. It features both the black and sienna finishes along with extensive turquoise inlays.

 

 

Red Bear Signed “DA” for Tony Da Circa 1970 Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos 1983.31.001

Red Bear
Signed “DA” for Tony Da
Circa 1970
Gift of Paul Peralta-Ramos
1983.31.001

 

Tony Da’s work differs dramatically from that of his father and grandparents. The creation of three-dimensional figures is one area where he explored new dimensions in pottery while still incorporating traditional surfaces and designs.

Untitled Watercolor signed “Tony Da” Dated 1965 Gift of Anita Da and the estate of Popovi Da 1984.072.038

Untitled
Watercolor signed “Tony Da”
Dated 1965
Gift of Anita Da and the estate of Popovi Da
1984.072.038


 

 

 

Barbara Gonzales and Cavan Gonzales

Descended from Maria through her son Adam and daughter-in-law Santana, Barbara Gonzales and her son Cavan are among the best known of the contemporary San Ildefonso potters. Barbara recalls working with and learning from Maria during her youth. Her work relates closely to Maria and Santana’s styles with a strong emphasis upon detail often with finely made small pots. Cavan Gonzales has received numerous national awards and honors for his work in pottery. He works in various techniques although he is best known for his finely detailed polychrome pots, signed with his trademark tadpole on the belly of the vessel. The work of Barbara, Cavan and their extended family shows the rich continuity of the tradition Maria established.

Presidential Scholar in the Arts Medal Presented to Cavan Gonzales Dated 1988 Gift of Cavan Gonzales 2012.12.2

Presidential Scholar in the Arts Medal Presented to Cavan Gonzales
Dated 1988
Gift of Cavan Gonzales
2012.12.2


President Ronald Reagan presented this medal to Cavan Gonzales in recognition of his selection as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

Hungry Parrot Watercolor by Cavan Gonzales at age 16 Dated 1986 Gift of Cavan Gonzales 2012.12.7

Hungry Parrot
Watercolor by Cavan Gonzales at age 16
Dated 1986
Gift of Cavan Gonzales
2012.12.7


Cavan notes that “parrots have always been a part of the pueblo ceremonial life going back into prehistory.”

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