Julian Martinez

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For the sprinter, see Julián Martínez (sprinter).
Julian Martínez
Born Pocano
1879 (1879)
San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico
Died 1943 (1944)
San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico
Nationality San Ildefonso Pueblo
Education community
Known for Ceramics, Painting
Movement San Ildefonso Self-Taught Group
Elected Governor of San Ildefonso Pueblo
Patron(s) School for Advanced Research

Julián Martínez, also known as Pocano (1879-1943), was a San Ildefonso Pueblo potter[1] and the patriarch of the most important family of Native American artisans in the United States.


Martínez was born in 1897 in San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico. His name, Pocano, means "Coming of the Spirits" in Tewa. He worked as a farmer, general laborer, and janitor, in addition to being an artist. He was elected governor of San Ildefonso.[2]

Martínez married Maria Martinez, and their son Popovi Da, became a famous artist.[3]


Martínez was part of an art movement called the San Ildefonso Self-Taught Group, which included such noted artists as Alfonso Roybal, Tonita Peña, Abel Sanchez, Crecencio Martinez, and Encarnación Peña.[4] He was instrumental in reviving the San Ildefonso and Santa Clara blackware pottery traditions.[5]

Martínez researched traditional designs and reproduced them on the pottery, later modifying traditional designs to create his own. His wife Maria Martinez is considered the preeminent creator of San Ildefonso blackware pottery and her name is synonymous with excellence in Indian pottery making. His son Popovi Da continued the tradition of innovation in pottery making, and is considered by many as the most accomplished Native American potter and painter of the 20th century.

Martínez is credited for inventing a revolutionary technique that would allow for areas of the pottery to have a matte finish and other areas to be a glossy jet black.[6]

Martínez was also an easel painter.[1] He painted Pueblo rituals and abstract designs with colored pencil and watercolor, and featured Western figurative types against blank backgrounds.[7] He painted murals at the former Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.[2]

Public collections[edit]

Martinez' artwork can be found in the following public collections.


Martinez died on March 6, 1943 in San Ildefonso.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Julian Martinez." Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b Lester 344
  3. ^ a b Lester 343
  4. ^ Wander, Robin (February 22, 2012). "Highlights from Stanford's Native American paintings collection are showcased in Memory and Markets: Pueblo Painting in the Early 20th Century". Stanford News. Stanford University, Cantor Art Center. Retrieved October 22, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Maria & Julian Martinez Pottery". Masterpiece Technologies. Retrieved 11/13/07.
  6. ^ Sublette, Mark J. "Maria Martinez and San Ildefonso Pottery." Medicine Man Gallery. Retrieved 11/13/07.
  7. ^ Julian Martinez. Retrieved 11/7/07.


  • Lester, Patrick D. The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters. Tulsa, OK: SIR Publications, 1995. ISBN 0-8061-9936-9.

External links[edit]