Gutierrez, Lela & Van – Square Polychrome Bowl with Big Horn Sheep (1930’s)
Lela Gutierrez began making pottery in the 1930s with her husband, Van Gutierrez. After Van passed away in 1956 she continued to make pottery with her son, Luther Gutierrez. This bowl is distinctive in both its shape and the designs. The bowl is squared off on the top and the sides are flat. On each panel is painted a different design. There are lizards on two sides and realistic Big Horn Sheep on the other two sides. The portrayal of the Big Horn Sheep is beautifully executed using only natural clay slips. The entire bowl is just painted with various clay colors before it was fired. This was a hallmark of Lela and Van and their revival of Santa Clara polychrome. The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Lela | Van”. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair. There is one small scratch or maybe just missing slip on one of the lizards, which can be seen in the photos.