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Pueblo Indian Painting

Tradition and Modernism in New Mexico, 1900–1930

J. J. Brody

A new tradition of Pueblo fine art painting arose in the first three decades of the twentieth century, born out of a dynamic encounter between the Pueblo and Euro-American communities in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico. Traditional Pueblo art supported community values and was integral to the ritual and daily life of the people, but the painting style that developed after 1900 was novel in every way, involving new subject matter, new media, and a new audience of Euro-American artists, intellectuals, and art patrons. The young Pueblo artists who created the new genre merged their Pueblo traditions with the aesthetic principles of Euro-American modernism to create an entirely new art form emblematic of the changing relationship between the two cultures.

In Pueblo Indian Painting, art historian J. J. Brody presents the first complete history of this vibrant art. Based on the extensive Pueblo painting collections of the School of American Research and richly illustrated in color and black and white, the book examines the achievements of seven artists who were key to the evolution of Pueblo painting: Fred Kabotie and Otis Polelonema of Hopi, Velino Shije Herrera of Zia, and Crescencio Martinez (Ta’E), Tonita PeÒa (Quah Ah), Alfonso Roybal (Awa Tsireh), and Abel Sanchez (Oqwa Pi) of San Ildefonso. Brody also explores the role played by the patrons who supported and promoted the Pueblo artists’ work, individuals such as Mary Austin, Alice Corbin Henderson, Edgar Lee Hewett, Oliver La Farge, Mabel Dodge Luhan, John Sloan, and Amelia Elizabeth White. Pueblo Indian Painting places this important but under-appreciated fine art tradition squarely within the contexts of Pueblo culture and Euro-American modernism, bringing long-overdue recognition to the tradition and its preeminent practitioners as a vital part of American art history.

1997. 238 pp., 50 black-and-white illustrations and 100 color paintings, 1 map, 2 appendices, references, index, 9 x 11.5

Contributors: J. J. Brody

Awards: 1998 Benjamin Franklin Award Winner

“[J.J.] Brody traces the rapid development of Pueblo painting through detailed examination of the people and forces that shaped the era, deftly exploring the assumptions, romantic theories, and political forces influencing actions New Mexico. His true subject, however, remains the paintings and the artists themselves.”
—Joyce M. Szabo, Journal of Anthropological Research

“[J.J.] Brody’s work opens an appreciation of Pueblo modern paintings to a broader audience with this volume.”
—Ethnoarts Index, vol. 14, no. 3 July-September 1996

“[J.J.] Brody’s work opens an appreciation of Pueblo modern paintings to a broader audience with this volume.”
—Ethnoarts Index vol. 14, no. 3 July-September 1996

Pueblo Indian Painting offers a look at these paintings, and their artists, with fresh eyes… The generous number of full-color reproductions … allows us to see how the painters responded over time to the many social pressures and creative urges they felt.”
—Dennis Dutton, Santa Fe New Mexican, 5 October 1992

“[A] masterly reevaluation of the history of early-modern Pueblo painting filled with rich insights. Highly recommended for academic collections.”
—Paula A. Baxter, Library Journal, 15 May 1997

“This is an essential study for anyone interested in Native American art.”
—Mary Sarber, El Paso Herald – Post, 18 July 1997

“Certain to become a standard in the literature on Native American art history; a ‘must’ for all…with an interest in Native American art and culture.”
—J. A. Day, Choice October 1997

“The creative legacy of Pueblo Indian art receives an important examination in this new volume by J. J. Brody, professor emeritus of art and art history at the University of New Mexico.”
—Tey Marianna Nunn, New Mexico Historical Review (July 1998)


  1. A New Art for a New World
  2. Pueblo Painting before 1900
  3. A Tradition Is Born
  4. Making the Alien Familiar
  5. Art or Anthropology?
  6. The End of an Era
There are no working papers for this book at the present time.