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tony da pottery

Tony Da

Tony Da was the first Pueblo "rock star." He broke cultural barriers as a "modern Indian," steeped in San Ildefonso Pueblo tradition but living in a contemporary world.  A grandson of Maria Martinez and the son of Popovi Da, his precision designs, and techniques revolutionized Pueblo pottery and created a new vocabulary for the art.  Among the first men to both make and design pottery, he introduced sgraffito etching, inlaid stones, and beads, initiated black and sienna colorations, and invented his stylized iconography derived from the ancient Mimbres pottery.  Although his career only spanned fifteen years, his work and persona are increasingly relevant. In 2011, Tony Da's pottery and paintings were the focus of an exhibit entitled; 'Creative Spark, The Life and Art of Tony Da.' (Museum of Indian Arts and Culture of Santa Fe 2011-2013.) Over the course of his career, Tony Da demanded perfection.  He was an innovator in his art as well as in his life.  Tony was known to his family members as a creative perfectionist, and to his collectors as a creative genius.  Tony's pottery today is considered to be among the most sought after by collectors. Charles King and Richard Spivey co-authored a history of his life and artwork in testament to his legacy titled, 'The Life and Art of Tony Da.'  Tony was both an art superstar of his time and a profoundly private individual.  This portrayal brings the reader into the innovative and volatile world of this noted Potter.

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Da, Tony – Red Plate with Antelope (1971)

This is an unusual smaller plate by Tony Da.  Most of the smaller plates made by Tony Da between 1969 and 71 were either gunmetal or black-and-sienna in coloration.  He made very few of the smaller plates in red.  This one has an antelope as the design. Tony would etch the designs into the clay before the pieces were fired. The animals were inspired by the Mimbres imagery from the 1100’s. However, as with much of his work, Tony drew inspiration from these ancient works but did not copy them.  His animals became “spirit animals” and note how the feet of the antelope are its tracks. The animal extends backwards from the tracks to create the distinctive animal with a heartline.  Around the rim are painted lines, in contrast to the incised imagery.  Tony had a short career which spanned from 1967-82.  He helped change the world of Pueblo pottery.   He was among the first to begin etching into the surface of the pottery (sgraffito), adding stones, hei-shi and then began creating all matte carved vessels.  His pottery today is considered to be among the most sought after by collectors and museum alike.   This plate is signed on the back in the clay, “DA”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  The plate has a metal museum mount stand made for it.   This is certainly a rarity and a classic style of Tony’s pottery and even an early piece like this bowl reflects the impact he had and continues to have, on Pueblo pottery.  The pottery of Tony Da remains an important addition to any collection!

Da, Tony – Lidded Jar with Feather Design and Turquoise (1971)

This is a spectacular jar by Tony Da.  He had a short career which spanned from 1967-82.  He helped change the world of Pueblo pottery.   He was among the first to begin etching into the surface of the pottery (sgraffito), adding stones, hei-shi and then began creating all matte carved vessels.  His pottery today is considered to be among the most sought after by collectors and museum alike. This jar was originally purchased in 1971. It is fully polished a deep red and the design consists of three sections with a feather pattern.  The feather design on the plates by his grandmother Maria Martinez were iconic by the 1970’s, so Tony created this design as his own variation.  There are three sections of feather separated by inset pieces of turquoise.  As well, the jar has a lid, which is tightly made and it is one of his earliest styles.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “DA”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  This is certainly a classic style of Tony’s pottery and even an early piece like this bowl reflects the impact he had and continues to have, on Pueblo pottery.  The pottery of Tony Da remains an important addition to any collection!

Da, Tony – Red Bowl with Avanyu (1971)

This is a classic smaller red bowl by Tony Da.  He had a short career which spanned from 1967-82.  He helped change the world of Pueblo pottery.   He was among the first to begin etching into the surface of the pottery (sgraffito), adding stones, hei-shi and then began creating all matte carved vessels.  His pottery today is considered to be among the most sought after by collectors and museum alike. This bowl was originally purchased in 1971.  It is fully polished a deep red and etched with the classic avanyu (water serpent).  Tony would etch the designs into the clay before the piece was fired so that there was a sharpness to the designs.  Note the precision of the horn and the clouds on this piece!   The avanyu is symbolic of the village being saved from a flood by the water serpent.  The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay, “DA”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  This is certainly a classic style of Tony’s pottery and even an early piece like this bowl reflects the impact he had, and continues to have, on Pueblo pottery.  The pottery of Tony Da remains an important addition to any collection!

$ 5,000.00
Da, Tony – Bowl with Feather Design and Turquoise (1972-3)

Tony Da had a short career which spanned from 1967-82.  He helped change the world of Pueblo pottery.   He was among the first to begin etching into the surface of the pottery (sgraffito), adding stones, hei-shi and then began creating all matte carved vessels.  His pottery today is considered to be among the most sought after by collectors and museum alike. This bowl is from 1972-3.  It is fully polished red and the design is etched into the clay after firing.  This bowl has two series of eagle feathers etched into the clay.  It was Tony’s modernistic interpretation of the classic feather pattern seen on Maria’s pottery.  Connecting the two sections of the feather there is a triangular design and a single inset piece of turquoise on each side.  The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay, “DA”.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  This is certainly a classic style of Tony’s pottery and even an early piece like this bowl reflects the impact he had and continues to have, on Pueblo pottery.  The pottery of Tony Da remains an important addition to any collection!

$ 8,000.00
Da, Tony – Turtle with Bear Lid (1975-6), Life and Art of Tony Da p. 82

Tony Da had a short career which spanned from 1967-82.  He helped change the world of Pueblo pottery.   He was among the first to begin etching into the surface of the pottery (sgraffito), adding stones, hei-shi and then began creating all matte carved vessels.  His pottery today is considered to be among the most sought after by collectors and museum alike.   While Tony made turtle shapes for his figurative pottery, he only made only a few turtles with lids.  This turtle is one of his with a fully polished bear lid.  The body of the turtle is fully polished and etched with a water serpent.  For the inside of the turtle when the lid is removed, there is a silver inset.  This was meant to encompass the open space created when he made the round body.  This turtle is signed on the foot in the clay, “DA”.   It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  The piece is featured in the book, The Art and Life of Tony Da on page 82.

Tony made several types of turtles. His first ones were simple and did not have a lid.  His first lidded turtle was a black one made in 1971.  It is now in a museum collection.  He made 3 or 4 red turtles with bear lids and silver insets between 1972-4.  He made two other major lidded turtles during his career.  One had a turtle lid and the other a lizard lid.  The turtle with the lizard lid was probably his last turtle figure, as it has the most sculptural appearance and detail of any of his other lids.  At this time, we do not know of any other black lidded turtles beyond the one made in 1971.

This is certainly a classic style of Tony’s pottery and even an early piece like this bowl reflects the impact he had, and continues to have, on Pueblo pottery.  The pottery of Tony Da remains an important addition to any collection!

Da, Tony – Red Clay Bear with Turquoise (1970-1)

Tony Da had a short career which spanned from 1967-82.  Tony began making bears as early as his first show in 1967 at Gallup Ceremonials.  As they evolved they became more sculptural in form.  This bear is an earlier one from around 1970-71.  The bear is fully polished and fired red.   The heartline and the inside of the legs is matte. There are two pieces of turquoise on the back and two for the eyes.  The bear has an incised heartline which is symbolic of the strength of the bear.  The bear is signed on the back foot in the clay.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.

Da, Tony – Gunmetal Jar with Avanyu & Lid (1969)

While the pottery of Tony Da has been well documented, it is still exciting to have a piece with such an exceptional provenance.  This gunmetal fired jar is an early piece of his pottery from 1969, just two years after he began making pottery!   The jar is first featured in the book, “Maria” by Richard Spivey as a full plate (the correct caption is figure 6.25).  It captures the elegance of the shape and the lid.  The second time it is published is in the book, “The Art and Life of Tony Da”.  The shape of the jar reflects Tony having  learned to make pottery from Maria.  It has a round should and an elongated neck.  It is around the shoulder that the water serpent (avanyu) is etched into the clay before the firing. The lid has a long handle and it is formed on the inside so that it fits perfectly on the jar.  The jar was fired by Popovi Da (who fired most of Tony’s gunmetal pottery) and it has a stunning gunmetal appearance.  It is only near the base of the piece that there is more of a black coloration.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “DA”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  Over the course of a career that spanned from 1967-82, Tony helped change the world of Pueblo pottery.   He was among the first to begin etching into the surface of the pottery (sgraffito), adding stones, hei-shi and then began creating all matte carved vessels.  His pottery today is considered to be among the most sought after by collectors and museum alike.  While he started out as a painter, he made his first pottery in 1967 and it’s first public showing was at Gallup Ceremonials of that year.

Da, Tony – Red Jar with Avanyu (1972-3)

Tony Da had a short career which spanned from 1967-82.  He helped change the world of Pueblo pottery.   He was among the first to begin etching into the surface of the pottery (sgraffito), adding stones, hei-shi and then began creating all matte carved vessels.  His pottery today is considered to be among the most sought after by collectors and museum alike. This jar with a slightly elongated neck is from 1972-3.  It is a period when the red clay slip was a bit deeper red in coloration.  This bowl is fully polished and has a water serpent (avanyu) as the design. The avanyu is etched into the clay and note the sharpness of the horn. The avanyu is symbolic of the village being saved from a flood by the water serpent.  The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay, “DA”.  It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  This is certainly a classic style of Tony’s pottery and even an early piece like this bowl reflects the impact he had, and continues to have, on Pueblo pottery.  The pottery of Tony Da remains an important addition to any collection!

$ 9,800.00
Da, Tony – Black & Sienna Plate with Antelope (1969)

While the pottery of Tony Da has been well documented, it is still exciting to have a piece with such an exceptional provenance.  This gunmetal fired plate is a significant piece in the history of his pottery.  It is one of approximately 6 pieces which he dated during his career.  In 1969 he created a group of plates, of which each was different.  These plates were all dated.  This is the only black and sienna one without a stone, which has a date. The plate was fired a gunmetal silver and then the rim was two-toned to make it sienna.  The design is an antelope, which was etched into the clay before the firing. The antelope style of the design was inspired by the Mimbres pottery of the 1100’s.  While he made other black and sienna plates, this one has a unique historic legacy.  It is signed and dated on the back in the clay, “DA 6 69”.  It is in excellent condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.  Over the course of a career that spanned from 1967-82, Tony helped change the world of Pueblo pottery.   He was among the first to begin etching into the surface of the pottery (sgraffito), adding stones, hei-shi and then began creating all matte carved vessels.  His pottery today is considered to be among the most sought after by collectors and museum alike.  While he started out as a painter, he made his first pottery in 1967 and his first public showing was at Gallup Ceremonials of that year.

Da, Tony – Original Pen & Ink Painting of Maria Martinez

Tony Da is a name synonymous with innovative pottery and paintings.  However, before he became famous for his pottery he began drawing in the 1960’s.  He was the son of noted potter Popovi Da and the grandson of Maria Martinez.  This is one of about five pen and ink drawings that he did early in his career.  Virtually all the other are in public collections.  This piece is one of his grandmother, Maria Martinez.  The other known pen & ink drawings of Maria are in the permanent collection of the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos.  This piece has an interesting provenance.  It was made in 1966 for the “Three Generations” exhibition in Washington DC.  The exhibition was partially arranged through some collectors in Texas, with whom Maria, Popovi and Tony stayed on their way to DC.  At the end of the exhibition, this drawing of Maria, along with several other pieces, were acquired by their benefactors in Texas.  The painting is signed, “D’a 66”.   It is in excellent condition. What a great piece of history and this piece is certainly an important addition  to any collection of work by Tony Da or San Ildefonso art.

$ 12,500.00
Sale!
King, Charles S., “Spoken Through Clay”

Spoken Through Clay

A NEW  RELEASE SPECIAL:  $95.00, including shipping (US)! Check out the new review in the Denver Post!

 Just a few things which make this book unique!
*   The size!  The book is 11.75″ x 14.25″ and weights over 8 pounds!
*  The photography of the pottery is stunning, emphasizing the individual pieces.
*  Each caption is the artist discussing the individual piece on the page.
*  The artist “biographies” are from interviews with the artists and they discuss their art, culture, lives and history.
*  Organization: The book is not organized by pueblo or family, but entails new ways to think about the future of Native pottery.
*  Printing in Italy gives the book very high quality color and paper.
* The photos of the living artists were taken by Will Wilson using a tin-type process. He was a recipient of the 2107 New Mexico Governor’s Award for the Arts in photography!
*  The book features work by more than 30 contemporary potters and more than a dozen important historic potters.
*  There are essays by myself, Peter Held and Eric Dobkin.  They add to the overall understanding of the project a historic perspective.

_____________________________________________

August 18, Pasatiempo Review

“Charles S. King’s new book, Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery in the Southwest, The Eric S. Dobkin Collection, is spectacularly heavy —which is a problem from a practical standpoint, because once you open it, you won’t want to put it down. With dreamy tintype artist portraits by Diné photographer Will Wilson, dazzlingly crisp images from Addison Doty, and intimate first-person essays written by dozens of artists, the book is a visually delicious, intellectually consuming foray into historic and contemporary Southwestern pottery. In short, prepare to swoon.

If you’re thinking of this as a coffee-table book, you’ll need to imagine a decently sized coffee table. The book is more than a foot tall and, when opened, two feet wide, but its outsize appearance belies the often delicate beauty of its contents: hundreds of individual pieces of pottery from Eric S. Dobkin’s exquisitely curated collection — arguably the largest and most important of its kind. Gallery owner, author, and Pueblo pottery expert King designed Spoken Through Clay to be approachable for those unfamiliar with Native American pottery. “In the age of social media, I wanted to make the book both visually striking and personal,” King said. The book opens with essays by King, Dobkin, and curator Peter Held, who calls clay “the most archival of materials … seductive, sensuous, responsive, geologic, and malleable.”

“I wanted the end result of the book to be that the reader would connect with the artists in a personal way, beyond just the art, and understand the time it takes to become an artist, to achieve success,” King said. Sprawling yet intimate, Spoken Through Clay introduces its readers not just to the beauty of Southwestern pottery but also to the fascinating stories of the people who make it.Iris McLister, Pasatiempo

____________________________________

“It’s one of the things that makes us who we are. It’s what holds our family together. We are a family of potters. It’s our identity. People don’t realize how much work goes into it just processing the clay and making it. You have to do it with your heart.”—Linda Tafoya-Sanchez

 

FEATURED ARTISTS Grace Medicine Flower • Dextra Quotskuyva • Autumn Borts-Medlock • Jody Naranjo • Harrison Begay Jr. • Jordan Roller • Sara Fina Tafoya • Lonnie Vigil • Margaret Tafoya • Steve Lucas • LuAnn Tafoya • Loren Ami • Toni Roller • Popovi Da • Linda Tafoya-Sanchez • Mark Tahbo • James Ebelacker• Yvonne Lucas • Jeff Roller • Lisa Holt • Harlan Reano • Nampeyo • Jacquie Stevens • Nathan Youngblood • Jacob Koopee Jr. • Jennifer Moquino • Christopher Youngblood • Maria Martinez • Tony Da • Tammy Garcia • Virgil Ortiz • Joseph Lonewolf • Johnathan Naranjo • Nancy Youngblood • Les Namingha • Russell Sanchez • Christine McHorse • Richard Zane Smith • Rondina Huma • Susan Folwell • Dominique Toya • Jody Folwell

Spoken Through Clay features the pottery of iconic Native American artists from historic potters Nampeyo and Maria Martinez, to contemporary potters Tammy Garcia, Virgil Ortiz, and many others, are featured in a new book published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest showcases nearly three hundred pottery vessels from the acclaimed Eric S. Dobkin Collection, covering a wide range of mostly Pueblo artists from the Southwest.

“The physical scale of the vessels combined with the depth of the contemporary collection [is] breathtaking,” says author Charles S. King. The book is part of a “transitional process of looking to the clay, the vessel, and the potter’s voice and allowing the pieces to stand on the merit of their artistic integrity.”

The book includes portraits and voices of renowned potters speaking about their artistry and technique, families, culture, and traditions. Many of the artists are connected by Pueblos, generations, or family members. Dynamic color photography captures the depth and dimension of the pieces, while the artists provide an illuminating perspective through narrative captions. Artists, academics, collectors, family members, and gallerists add additional insight about the lives, historical context, and importance of these potters and their work.

SPOKEN THROUGH CLAY Native Pottery of the Southwest The Eric S. Dobkin Collection
By Charles S. King Essay by Peter Held

Artist portraits by Will Wilson
ISBN: 978-0-89013-624-9

352 pages, 320 color plates, 40 artist portraits

Publication Date: August 01, 2017
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Charles S. King is the author of Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya, The Life and Art of Tony Da, Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180, and numerous articles on Pueblo pottery. He has served on boards of art associations, judged pottery at prestigious events, and lectures about the art form. His business King Galleries represents many of today’s leading Native potters and important historic works in clay. Charles lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

$ 125.00 $ 95.00
King, Charles S. and Richard L. Spivey, “The Art and Life of Tony Da”

King and Spivey present Pueblo potter and painter Tony Da’s artwork and life story in this testament to his legacy. Da was both an art superstar of his time (the high of his career was in the 1960s and 70s) and a deeply private individual. this intimate portrayal brings the reader into the innovative and volatile world of Tony Da.

$ 40.00
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