Roybal, Tonita – Large Jar with Cloud Designs (1939)
This is an exceptional large jar by Tonita Roybal. She remains one of the great innovative names in San Ildefonso pottery. This is one of her larger pieces and one of her iconic shapes. Check out the photo of her and Juan from the 1930s, this shape can be seen in the background. The has a wide shoulder and a sloping side. It is painted with a cloud pattern, along with lightning and rain designs. Like much of her work, the polished, negative space area, is used to create imagery. The jar was fired to a silvery, nearly gunmetal coloration. It’s not just the shape or the design that is so interesting, but what truly makes it exceptional is the signature. This is the fourth piece I have seen of her work that has a date! The jar is signed, “Tonita” on the bottom, along with the date of 1939. Both are polished into the clay before firing. It adds to the overall provenance and historic importance of the piece to have the date. As well, as a later date piece, Juan would usually paint the pottery, but with just her signature, and the bold lines of the painting, it is most likely that she also painted the jar. It is in very good condition with no chips, cracks, restoration or repair.