Maria Martinez Gallery
A newly designed gallery features a large portion of the Maria Martinez family collection. Maria and her husband, Julian, from San Ildefonso Pueblo were responsible for a revival of the San Ildefonso ceramic tradition. Enjoy objects that have never been displayed with informative labels.
Their early pieces, between 1904 and 1919, were primarily plain red and black wares and highly decorated polychromes. In 1919, Maria and Julian discovered the process for creating black-on-black pottery. Julian painted matte-finish designs with a red clay slip into highly polished vessels formed by Maria. Smothering, or oxygen reduction, during the firing produced the desirable black-on-black effect. After the 1919 discovery, the Martinez’ reputation for unique native pottery of excellent quality steadily grew. Maria and Julian began signing their work and became recognized artisans.
The exhibit case in Gallery 4 illustrates the black-on-black pottery process discovered in 1919 by Maria and Julian.