Julian Martinez

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Julián Martínez
Julian Martinez in 1920

1879 (1879)
Died1943 (1944)
NationalitySan Ildefonso Pueblo
Known forCeramics, Painting
MovementSan Ildefonso Self-Taught Group
SpouseMaria Martinez
ChildrenPopovi Da
ElectedGovernor 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] painter, and the patriarch of a family of Native American ceramic artists in the United States.


Martínez was born in 1879 in San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico.[2] 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.[3]

Martínez married matriarch potter Maria Martinez, and together they had a son Popovi Da, who was also a potter.[4] Maria is considered the preeminent creator of San Ildefonso blackware pottery; however Julian contributed to her accomplishments. Their son Popovi Da continued innovating Pueblo ceramic arts; his work has been widely exhibited and collected.[5]

Martinez died on March 6, 1943, in San Ildefonso Pueblo.[4]


The Martinez family was instrumental in reviving the San Ildefonso and creating the San Ildefonso black-on-black, matte-on-shiny pottery technique. The Martínez family is credited for inventing a 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, with help from anthropologist, Edgar Lee Hewett researched historical designs and reproduced them on the pottery, later modifying classical Pueblo designs to create his own.[citation needed]

Martínez was also an easel painter.[1] He painted scenes of Pueblo rituals as well as 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.[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 (Oqwa Pi), Crecencio Martinez, and Encarnación Peña.[8]

Public collections[edit]

The artwork of Maria and Julian Martinez can be found in the following public collections.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Julian Martinez." Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  2. ^ Berlo, Janet C.; Phillips, Ruth B. (1998). Native North American Art. Oxford University Press. p. 217.
  3. ^ a b Lester 344
  4. ^ a b Lester 343
  5. ^ King, Charles S. (2017). Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press. pp. 120–123. ISBN 9780890136249.
  6. ^ Sublette, Mark J. "Maria Martinez and San Ildefonso Pottery." Medicine Man Gallery. Retrieved 11/13/07.
  7. ^ Julian Martinez. Retrieved 11/7/07.
  8. ^ 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.


  • Lester, Patrick D. The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters. Tulsa, OK: SIR Publications, 1995. ISBN 0-8061-9936-9.
  • Crawford, Virginia. "American Indian Painting." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 69, no. 1 (1982): 3–17.

External links[edit]