Native American New Mexico Artists

Richard Martinez of San Ildefonso Pueblo.

Richard Martinez of San Ildefonso Pueblo was born in 1910 and died in 1960. He was one of the many artists during the last century that inspired generations of Native American artists. Also from San Ildefonso was the world-renowned potter Maria Martinez. Born in 1887, Maria died in 1980. In 1908 Edgar Lee Hewitt, the anthropologist and archeologist founded the Museum of New Mexico. He also discovered Neolithic remnants from the time of the early inhabitant’s agricultural settlements. In his find he discovered the glossy decorative black pottery of that era. He sought the help of Maria in recreating this ancient form of pottery. Maria Martinez became world renown for the pottery. She received the National Endowment of the Arts award and many other honorifics in her lifetime.

Dorothy Dunn Art Studio

The painter Pablita Velarde in the photo above was born at Santa Clara Pueblo in 1918. At fourteen years of age she attended the Santa Fe Indian School where she studied with Dorothy Dunn at the Studio of Art Instruction. Dunn believed that Native Americans had an innate talent as artists, and she nurtured many students to develop their art. Many of her students went on to become successful artists.

Natural Pigments

Early in her career as an artist Velarde transitioned from water color paintings to creating her own nature pigment paints. She sought these natural ingredients from the rich mineral and rock deposits in the surrounding mountains of her pueblo in northern New Mexico. Velarde’s depictions of pueblo life can be found at the visitor’s center at Bandelier National Monument. Her art exhibitions were also featured at the Smithsonian Institute and throughout the United States.

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