MARCH 6, 1943


Born in 1897 in San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico, Martinez, whose Pueblo name meant “Coming of the Spirits,” was a farmer, governor of San Ildefonso, and artist.  In 1904, he married Maria Montoya, one of the most famous of the pueblo potters.  Their honeymoon involved demonstrating making pottery at the St. Louis World’s Fair.  In 1907, Julian helped on an archaeological excavation while Maria made replicas of the unearthed pots.  By 1918, this led to their famed matte-black-on-polished-black pottery.  Maria made the pots; Julian did the painting and design.  They won Best of Show at World’s Fairs in New York (1927) and Chicago (1935).  The couple led a pottery and cultural revival in San Ildefonso and other pueblos.  Son, Tony (Popovi Da), became a noted potter as well.  Julian’s murals grace the Santa Fe Indian School and Mesa Verde National Park.  His art is in many collections, and at the National Museum of the American Indian.  Martinez died March 6, 1943 in San Ildefonso Pueblo. 

Sources:  Olivas!, “San Ildefonso Potters Maria and Julian Martinez,” Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center, 4/19/2017.  Retreived 6/10/2019,  “Julián Martinez (1885-1943) Pocano - Coming of the Spirits,” Adobe Gallery.  Retrieved 6/10/2019,
Drawing: Julian Martinez (San Ildefonso Pueblo, 1884–1943), Buffalo Dancers, c. 1930s.  San Ildefonso Pueblo, Santa Fe County, New Mexico.  Hide, paint.  79 x 61 cm.  Henry Craig Fleming Collection, 22/8644. Courtesy of National Museum of the American Indian
Photo:  Julian & Maria Martinez.  Author: Fayette Van Zile, 1931.  Courtesy of National Museum of the American Indian, No. N32467

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