Da, Tony (1940-2008)
Tony Da had a short career that 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 1969-70. The bear is coil-built and stone polished to a high shine. There is an incised heartline extending the length of the piece. It was fired to a gunmetal coloration. After the firing, the band across the back was “two-toned” to make it sienna in coloration. The same with the inside of the legs. Note that, typical of all of Tony’s black-and sienna pieces, there is the sienna coloration, a “halo” of black, and then the gunmetal. This bear has an exceptional silvery gunmetal coloration on the head and back. There are inset pieces of turquoise on the back of the bear, as well as for the eyes. They are added after the firing. The bear is signed, “DA” on the back foot. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.
“People often approach me and ask why they don’t see much of my pottery today. The simple truth is that I originally started as a painter, and working with pottery came later, quite by accident. Abstract designs such as geometric and parallel lines have always been intriguing and have held a strange fascination for me. Perhaps this also explains why speculation about time, space, and man’s position in the universe has always been a preoccupation of mine. I only can wish my work will remain in the future as a cultural testimony to these times.” Tony Da, Spoken Through Clay