Model stu­dents Paint­ings from the Santa Fe In­dian School


Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - Paul Wei­de­man

The Pue­blo In­dian artists who were the first to take brush to pa­per, es­tab­lish­ing the easel-art tra­di­tion in Na­tive Amer­ica, are the fo­cus of the cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion Paint­ings by Early Stu­dents of the Santa Fe In­dian School at Adobe Gallery. “We’ve al­ways given Dorothy Dunn credit for bring­ing in art at the Santa Fe In­dian School in 1932,” said the gallery’s Alexan­der E. An­thony Jr., “but be­fore that, as early as 1900, the teacher at the San Ilde­fonso Day School, Es­ther Hoyt, en­cour­aged her kids to paint what­ever they wanted to paint. That was against gov­ern­ment pol­icy. The gov­ern­ment was very strongly try­ing to down­play the pa­gan­ism of the In­di­ans and to get rid of their re­li­gion and voodoo kind of danc­ing.” The one-room school run by Hoyt had 18 stu­dents from San Ilde­fonso Pue­blo in 1902, and three years later, en­roll­ment climbed to 31. The lit­tle artists in­cluded Awa Tsireh (Al­fonso Roy­bal), who was four years old in 1903; Tonita Peña, who was ten; and Tse Ye Mu (Ro­mando Vigil), who was four in 1905. Among Hoyt’s other stu­dents who kept at what they learned and be­came famed painters as adults were Al­fredo Mon­toya, San­tana Roy­bal, and Abel Sanchez. “These young artists from San Ilde­fonso got a jump-start on all the other pueb­los, and it be­came the be­gin­ning of the Na­tive Amer­i­can easel-paint­ing move­ment,” An­thony told Pasatiempo in a re­cent in­ter­view at his gallery, which he said will be forty years old in 2017. An­thony opened his gallery on Al­bu­querque’s Old Town plaza and moved it to Santa Fe in 2001.

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