The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

Native American Art

Who was Maria Montoya Martinez?

Maria Montoya Martinez (1887–1980) was a Native American artist from San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico who, along with her husband Juan Martinez, is famous for highly polished, black-on-black ceramics, which are highly valuable on the art market. The Martinez’s pots were often traditional in form, but decorated with geometric, curvilinear designs influenced by the Art Deco styles popular during the early twentieth century. Maria Martinez was the only Pueblo artist to consistently sign her work, which she occasionally did using her native Tewa name, Po’ve’ka (Pond Lily). The community-focused Martinez also signed pots with both her and her husband’s name, as well as the names of her Pueblo neighbors.


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