Twentieth Century: Pueblo Printmakers

The people of the ancient Pueblo Indian tribe in the Southwest use art as a vital part of their rituals, to celebrate the powers of nature and pay tribute to the natural world that they see as sacred.

Yet, because their work has always been so transient, only an accident of destiny in the early 1900's gave us an opportunity to glimpse the power and beauty of the Pueblo art.

It was at that time that a Pueblo Indian, from San Ildefonso, by the name of Crescencio Martinez, acted as a guide for a professor who was researching cave dwellings and ruins of the canyon of the Rito de los Frijoles, a pre-Columbian site in the Jamez Mountains of New Mexico.

During the trip, it was discovered that Crescencio was a talented artist whose paintings rivaled the awesome ones found on cave walls.

Crescencio died shortly thereafter, but his descendants carried on his powerful tradition. This spectacular exhibit includes many works by these descendants, with contributions by such artists as Awa Tsireh, Julian Martinez and Romando Vigil.

To the Pueblo Indians, art was an integral part of religious expression. Since they were tillers of the land, much of their art portrays their desire for favorable weather-and the rituals they performed to encourage it.