Skip to comments.Santa Clara artist dies at 87
Posted on 01/12/2006 4:07:07 PM PST by woofie
Pablita Velarde, a leading American Indian woman artist from Santa Clara Pueblo, has died at the age of 87. A granddaughter says she died at her Albuquerque home Wednesday from pneumonia , KOB-TV reported.
Velarde is best known for her paintings depicting Pueblo life, including Old Father Story Teller.
A young Velarde was commissioned by the Works Progress Administrations arts project to create scenes of traditional Pueblo culture for the museum at Bandelier National Monument, according to the National Parks Service. From 1937 to 1943, she produced over 70 paintings to help visitors understand the ancestral Pueblo sites at Bandelier . Velarde has said that these are some of her most meaningful works.
At 5, Pablita Velarde attended St. Catherines Indian Boarding School in Santa Fe and later transferred to the Santa Fe Indian School.
Velarde is preceded in death by her daughter, famed artist Helen Hardin. Funeral services are private, and a public memorial will be held at a later date.
From Alb Journal:
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Painting Pioneer Earned Fame for Creating Images From Her Childhood
By Dan Mayfield Journal Staff Writer
Pablita Velarde, a Santa Clara woman who broke barriers as a painter and became famous internationally for detailed images of American Indians in ceremonial poses, died Tuesday. She was 87. Velarde died in Albuquerque, her home for nearly 50 years, of pneumonia. Pablita Velarde, 1918-2006
She will be buried at her first home, Santa Clara Pueblo. The family is planning private services, but a public memorial will be held, said her granddaughter Margarete Bagshaw-Tindel.
Velarde whose Tewa name was Tse Tsan, or Golden Dawn was one of the first women American Indian painters and made a name for herself creating scenes from her childhood, growing up on the pueblo. Because of the careful detail in her work, it is considered to have artistic and historical value.
"What I want her to be known for is being a master of pueblo history and recording that history through the world," Bagshaw-Tindel said. "She was very proud of the fact that she looked at herself as a plain little ordinary Indian woman who accomplished a whole lot."
Velarde gained notice after being hired by the Works Progress Administration, a federal agency created under the New Deal to provide jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression, to create paintings and murals at Bandelier National Monument. She was one of two remaining WPA painters in New Mexico.
"Certainly, part of what was so remarkable of her was her career span from the 1930s as a WPA painter through the last few years as a book illustrator," said Diane Dittemore, curator of Ethnographic Collections at Arizona State Museum in Tucson. "Her acclaim went way beyond the Rio Grande Valley."
The museum has the largest collection of Velarde's masonite works and some of her grand WPA murals.
"Pablita was one of the first women to be involved in the Santa Fe Indian school, and as she's said numerous times, painting was not a field many women went into at the time," Dittemore said. "She was a local treasure by any measure and had an amazing vision."
Her work at Bandelier was recently restored as part of the monument's 90th anniversary celebration. Several of her murals also can be seen at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque.
Though she was internationally respected, she was modest about her art and was proud that people liked and collected her paintings. She never saw herself as creating a legacy, friends and family said.
"I don't think she felt that way," said Velarde's best friend, Rosemary Phillips. "She enjoyed doing it. She wanted to show what life was like."
Velarde was born in 1918 on Santa Clara Pueblo.
In an interview with the Journal last year, Velarde said, "There were no conveniences, no electricity, no water, no gas."
But, she said, there was plenty to look at.
"Every time my dad would holler at me to go to the well and get a bucket of water," she said, "I'd walk as slow as I could. I'd come back with half a bucket. I'd stare at the horses in barns, at cows, at sheep, at people walking by.
"There was always something up there. I'd look at the trees and the rocks and the animals in my head. There'd be growing something, a picture."
Most of her contemporaries created pottery, not paintings. Especially women.
She didn't consider painting as a career until her days at St. Catherine's Indian School in Santa Fe where she took art classes and met her first mentor, artist Tonita Peña.
"(Peña) worked for the government school," Velarde said. "She stayed at the girls' dorm. We'd talk in our language and she'd say (paint) and not give up. If it was not for her, I would never have painted."
By 1939 she was hired at Bandelier. She was the first woman artist in the program, she remembered.
Velarde continued painting as a hobby, while getting married and having children. It wasn't until the 1950s that she became a professional and entered art competitions.
She started winning.
Pretty soon, her work was being collected, and by the 1960s she was one of the state's most prominent artists.
Today, her works can be found at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's Acee Blue Eagle Collection; the Avery Collection, now at the Arizona State Museum; The Museum of New Mexico; and the Ruth and Charles Elkus Collection of Native American Art.
"She was one of the greats in traditional American Indian painting," said Doris Monthan of Corrales, who authored several books on American Indian art with her photographer husband, Guy Monthan. "She truly was a living treasure."
Her children and grandchildren have become well-known and respected artists.
Her son Herbert Hardin II is a sculptor, and her daughter, the late Helen Hardin, picked up Velarde's love of painting.
Hardin passed her love of art to her daughter, Bagshaw-Tindel, who has earned acclaim in the field.
After Helen Hardin's passing in 1984, Velarde took to making stuffed dolls, a sort of therapy for her, Phillips said.
Velarde is survived by her son Herbert Oliver Hardin II. Her grandchildren include Margarete Bagshaw-Tindel, Ralph Hardin, Pamela Hardin-Spaeth, Teresa Hardin, and great-grandchildren Helen Tindel, Forrest Tindel and Alexandria Card. She had one sister, Jane Baca of Santa Clara Pueblo, a half-sister, Teresita Guiterrez, and a half-brother, Alfred Velarde of Ogden, Utah.
Oh, too bad! Good artist. I had some Christmas cards with her pictures one year.
If you want on or off the art ping list, please let Republicanprofessor, Sam Cree or me know
I loved the colors.
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