Da, Tony (1940-2008)
This is a classic jar by Tony Da. Tony was a grandson of Maria Martinez and had a short career that 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. This bowl is from around 1976-70. It has a high shoulder and a short neck. The jar is fully polished red. There is a feather design etched into the clay before firing. This style of design was Tony’s response to the classic feather pattern of grandmother, Maria Martinez. Separating the feather patterns are two inset pieces of turquoise. The turquoise atones are deeply inset into the surface of the clay after the firing. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, “DA”. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration, or repair. Over the course of his career, he said that he only created about 30 pieces a year! The pottery of Tony Da remains an important addition to any collection!
“I make only about 30 pots a year. That’s fewer than most Indian potters, but mine take so much time that’s all I can do. I try to combine tradition and contemporary design in a unique way, no matter what the medium.” Tony Da (1972), Spoken Through Clay
“It is rare to witness the artistic arc of a potter with such a short career yet incredible artistic longevity. Tony Da is that rare exception of an artist who broke every barrier in the art, pushed the medium so far beyond its limitations, and yet, as of today, few artists are yet able to match the technical sophistication and aesthetic he was attempting to create.” Charles S. King, Spoken Through Cla