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
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.
Adair, John. The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths. Norman, OK: University
of Oklahoma Press, 1944, p. 199.
Bauver, Robert. Masterworks and Eccentricities: The Druckman Collection:
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,
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,
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.