Leo Poblano (1905-1959)

Leo Poblano is widely regarded as one of the best and most versatile Zuni artists. While his fetish carving style is in many ways similar to Leekya Deyuse's, his pieces can be easily distinguished from Leekya's by the presence of small inlaid dots of contrasting color.

Poblano taught carving and jewelry-making to Daisy Hooee Nampeyo and Ida Vacit, the last two of his succession of wives. The daughter of famous Hopi potter Nampeyo, Daisy was also an accomplished ceramic artist who had studied sculpture at the L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1929. She conveyed the representational relief carving skills she acquired in France to Leo, who incorporated them into his mosaic inlay work. Leo, in turn, passed his accrued knowledge and skills along to his next wife, Ida. After Leo's early death in 1959 in a fire-fighting accident, Ida finished many of her husband's pieces.

Leo Poblano produced highly detailed and naturalistic figures in mosaic inlay, including a wide range of ceremonial dancers and olla maidens. Working with Daisy and Ida, he produced the stonework for these figures, and Navajo smiths working with trader C. G. Wallace typically did the silverwork, sometimes mounting the figures on the tops of silver boxes or other hand-crafted items. Poblano collaborated and exchanged ideas and technical knowledge with many other famous Zuni artists, including his uncle Teddy Weahkee and Dan Simplicio.

Leo's daughter Veronica Poblano and her two children, Dylan and Veronica, carry on the family tradition of jewelry-making.


Leo Poblano and Daisy Poblano (Zuni)
Pin (Inlay Pin of Amy Chugate)
silver inlay
1944
4.75” x 1.75”
KMA 89.016.198
 
Leo and Daisy Poblano (or Leo Poblano singly) (Zuni)
Earrings
Coral, string, metal
n.d.
1 in. x .5 in.
KMA 89.016.568 A & B
 
Leo and Daisy Poblano (or Leo Poblano singly) (Zuni)
Ring
Red stone or shell, mother-of-pearl, jet, turquoise, silver
n.d.
.665 in. x 1.25 in.
KMA 89.016.829
 

Links:

http://www.americanmastersofstone.com/Artists/Poblano,%20Leo.htm.


Sources:
Adair, John. The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1944, p. 199.
Bauver, Robert. Masterworks and Eccentricities: The Druckman Collection: Navajo and
Pueblo Jewelry Metalwork 1880-1950. Pittsburg, PA: Four Winds Publishing, 2002, p. 60-61.
Baxter, Paula. Southwest Silver Jewelry. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2001, p. 125, 129, 132, 140, 147, 155.
Chalker, Kari, "Dancing for Rain Under a Turquoise Sky: The Southwest," 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. 141.
Karaski, Carol. The Turquoise Trail: Native American Jewelry and Culture of the Southwest. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1993, p. 145.
Ostler, James with Rodee and Nahohai. Zuni: A Village of Silversmiths. Zuni, NM: A:Shiwi Publishing, 1996, p. 100-101.
Schaaf, Gregory. American Indian Jewelry 1: 1200 Artist Biographies. Santa Fe, NM: CIAC Press, 2003, p. 257-258.
Slaney, Deborah C. Blue Gem, White Metal: Carvings and Jewelry from the C. G. Wallace Collection. Phoenix: Heard Museum, 1998, p. 15, 26, 28.
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.