The Art of Velino Shije Herrera (Ma Pe Wi)
[Filled, waitlist is open.]
Friday, May 15, 2015, 8:30 am–3:00 pm
This field trip offers participants a unique opportunity to view rarely-exhibited paintings by Velino Shije Herrera, which are owned by SAR, and to visit to the Pritzlaff Ranch in San Ignacio, New Mexico to view the large, wall murals painted by Velino. The Pritzlaff Ranch encompasses 3,300 acres of riparian wetlands, forests and grasslands at the base of Hermit’s Peak. This privately-owned ranch was recently acquired by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to be part of the new Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge.
Bruce Bernstein will be our guide on this special trip to look at the art of Velino Shije Herrera. Bruce Bernstein is the former director at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, assistant director for Research and Collections at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and director of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA). The Indian Arts Research Center’s staff will also provide consultation about Velino’s paintings at the Research Center and the Pritzlaff Ranch.
Velino Shije Herrera was born into a small, farming community at Zia Pueblo in 1902. He became one of the great artistic talents of the 20th century Native art world−painting the world he witnessed and lived−the life and ceremonies of Zia and other Southwest Native peoples. At the age of 15, he was sent to the Santa Fe Indian School where he was selected with a few other students to draw and paint in the living room of Elizabeth DeHuff, wife of the school superintendent John David DeHuff. During these living room classes, DeHuff encouraged her students to draw and paint what they knew best –their home and village life.
In the early 1920s, Edgar Lee Hewett hired Velino and other Native artists as custodians in the fledgling Museum of New Mexico/School of American Research, located at the Palace of the Governors. In addition to his custodian duties, Velino was expected to paint two to three hours a day. Approximately 30 of these Velino paintings remain in SAR’s collection at the Indian Arts Research Center.
In 1937-1938, he painted modified reproductions of the original Kiva art found at Kuaa’a (Coronado State Monument). In 1939, he was asked, along with Allan Houser and Gerald Nailor, to paint murals in the new Department of the Interior building in Washington DC. In 1942, he painted the murals at the Pritzlaff Ranch in San Ignacio. These full-size murals adorn the walls of the bunkhouse, and depict coyotes, rabbits, antelope and buffalo hunting scenes. Although he must have been commissioned by Richard Pritzlaff himself, any other concrete information about how he came to the ranch and why he chose the subject matter that he did seems lost to time.
Activity Level: Easy, with minimal walking required.
Fee: $75 per person, includes transportation, guide honorarium, and picnic lunch.
Download the 2015 Spring Field Trip Registration Form