Dan Simplicio (1917 - 1969)
Dan Simplicio learned jewelrymaking from his uncle, Juan Dedios. He, in turn, passed his knowledge on to younger Zuni artists, including his son Mike Simplicio and his nephew Juan Calavaza. One of the most innovative and wide-ranging Zuni artists, Simplicio was the first to develop styles and materials usage that have since become commonplace. He collaborated with a number of the most widely recognized masters of Zuni art, including Leekya Deyuse, Teddie Weahkee, Leo Poblano, Bernard Homer, and Lee Edaakie.

Early in his career, Simplicio worked at C. G. Wallace's Zuni trading post, grinding and setting stones. Wallace collected his work; and, when his collection was auctioned at Sotheby's in 1975, it included more than 50 pieces by Simplicio.

Simplicio was the first to use branch coral in its natural form and the first to set rough-cut coral nuggets on rings. He originated the nugget style around 1948, in an attempt to make cheaper commercial imitation of Zuni jewelry more difficult, and he introduced extensive use of leafwork in Zuni jewelry. While Simplicio learned to carve leaves from Juan Dedios, his son, Dan Simplicio, Jr., credits his father's World War II army service in Europe with the development of this innovation. Stationed in France, Germany and Italy, he observed the use of leafwork in classical and modern Western European sculpture. The present generation of Simplicio family jewelers have carried on the use of the distinctively curved leaves that Dan originated. However, their leaves curve in the opposite direction from his, making it easy to distinguish their work.

Simplicio's jewelry has a highly individual look, resulting from its distinctive use of deep red branch coral with intense blue turquoise. Silver leafwork and stamped drops add texture and detail, creating a delicate counterpoint to the heavier turquoise and branch coral.
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
Branch Coral and Carved Turquoise Necklace
Silver beads, branch coral, and plaques of Villa Grove Turquoise
1945
29.75 in. long
KMA 89.016.564
 
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
Silver Box
silver, turquoise, coral, mother-of-pearl, black stone
1976
6 in. high x 4 in. diameter
KMA 89.016.138
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
Silver Bracelet with Coral and Turquoise
silver, branch coral and turquoise
1932
size
KMA 89.016.639
 
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
Morenci Turquoise Silver Bracelet
Morenci turquoise and silver
1967
2.5 in. high x 2.25 in. wide x 3.5 in. deep
KMA 89.016.430
 
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
Silver box with turquoise and Red Coral on Lid
silver, turquoise, red coral
n.d.
3.25” x 8” x 5.5”
KMA 89.016.156
 
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
Knifewing Inlay Cufflinks
c. 1930
1-1/2” x 1-3/8”
silver and inlay
KMA 89.016.822A & B
 
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
Earrings
Silver, turquoise
n.d.
.75 long
KMA 89.016.777 A & B
 
Dan Simplicio (probably) (Zuni)
Pendant
Silver, turquoise
n.d.
2.825 in. x 3.75 in.; 16.75 in. long
KMA 89.016.862
 
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
Bolo
Tortoise shell, silver, jet, coral, turquoise, mother-of-pearl
n.d.
2.75 in. x 2.25 in.; tips .75 in. x 2.75 in.; length 19.5 in.
KMA 89.016.906
 
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
Buckle
Tortoise shell, silver, jet, coral, turquoise, mother-of-pearl
n.d.
2.22 in. x 3 in.
KMA 89.016.906.1
 
Pin
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
Coral, Burnham turquoise, silver
1938
2.5 in.
KMA 89.016.573
 
Silver and Coral Bolo
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
silver, leather, pink coral
1963
23 in. long
KMA 89.016.384
 
Silver, Gold and Coral Watch Band
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
silver, gold, pink coral
1963
.625 in. wide x 3 in. long
KMA 89.016384A
 
Silver, Gold and Coral Ring
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
silver, gold, pink coral
1963
1.25 in. wide x ?
KMA 89.016384b
 
Silver, Gold and Coral Tie Tac
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
silver, gold, pink coral
1963
.625 in diameter
KMA 89.016.384C
 
Silver, Gold and Coral Cufflinks
Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
silver, gold, pink coral
1963
1.5 in. long x 1 in. diameter
KMA 89.016.384D.1 and D.2
 
Juan Calavaza and/or Dan Simplicio (Zuni)
Ring
Silver, coral, turquoise
n.d.
1 in. x 1 in. x 1 in.
KMA 89.016.1014b
 
Juan Calavaza and/or Dan Simplicio(Zuni)
Ring
Silver, turquoise
n.d.
1.18 in. x 1 in. x 1.16 in.
KMA 89.016.1014a
 


Links:

http://gallerydb.net/web/galleries/elmoreindianart/index.htm?pg=detail&sku=Simplicio409.9111

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Whiteley, Peter M., "The Southwest 'Painterly' Style and Its Cultural Context," in Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest, Kari Chalker, ed. New York: Harry N. Abrams, in association with The American Museum of Natural History, 2004, p. 155.
Wright, Barton. Hallmarks of the Southwest. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2000, p. 156.