Julian Martinez

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Julian Martínez

1879 (1879)
Died1943 (1944)
NationalitySan Ildefonso Pueblo
Known forCeramics, Painting
MovementSan Ildefonso Self-Taught Group
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 one of the most important 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 potter Maria Martinez, and together they had a son Popovi Da, who became a well-known potter.[4] Maria is considered the preeminent creator of San Ildefonso blackware pottery; however Julian contributed greatly to her accomplishments. Their son Popovi Da continuedinnovating Pueblo ceramic arts and ranks among theaccomplished Native American potters and painters of the 20th century.

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


Martinez was instrumental in reviving the San Ildefonso and creating the San Ildefonso black-on-black, matte-on-shiny pottery technique.[5] The Martínez family 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, 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 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.[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]

Martinez' artwork 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. ^ "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.
  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]