San Ildefonso's most famous potters!
Last week we sent out a newsletter featuring the work of Maria Martinez, the Potter of San Ildefonso. She is credited with creating the black on black style and establishing a quality level that gave San Ildefonso potters their fame. The email is posted on our blog on Maria Martinez, in case you missed it or would like to read it again.
Today we are going to share a set of plates made by Maria and her husband, Julian, that are really unique. How unique? Well, what would you think if I told you that Maria made several sets of plates that were intended to be used as dinnerware?
These were never common and, to my knowledge, there were only a handful made. One set of plates, according to Andrea Fisher in Santa Fe, belonged to a wealthy family who donated them to a San Francisco museum. I know of another set that was never actually used as dinnerware that has a home in Santa Fe in a display cabinet and we now have a third set in the Gallery.
This set was purchased directly from the potter in the 1940's and was signed, "Marie and Julian." They shared this signature until his passing in 1943, so it had to be during the early 40's that the eight plates were made.
Usually, Julian did the designs on the pots and Maria shaped and polished them. In this case, the pots are all gun metal black. Obviously, Julian was skilled enough as a potter to help with the shaping and polishing, but it was Maria's polishing skills that created that incredible black finish. All eight plates, each measuring 10 inches in diameter, are signed by both of them.
These plates were all used and we are picturing them individually on our web site. They all have marks made by the knives and forks of diners and they all have about the same amount of evident usage. I bet they could tell some stories!
You can never really take these scratches away or repair the plates, but in sort of a strange way, they add to the uniqueness of the pottery. We have decided to sell the plates individually. The reasoning for this is pretty simple. Not too many people have a desire for eight identical plates and I don't think anyone is going to be using them as dinnerware. Actually, if you were going to do that, we aren't going to sell them to you.
What we are offering you is the opportunity to own a very unique piece of pottery by two of the most famous of Pueblo potters at a very reasonable price. These plates are going to be sold for $300 each. You can go to our website by clicking on any of the photos or links and pick the plate that you like best.
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