Monday, September 5, 2016

Saint Philomena Retablo

Saint Philomena 
Saint Philomena Tin Retablo ca. late 1800's, (7”x10”) acquired recently here in Taos, then a few things happened. I am told this is a rare subject matter and that this retablo is attributed to ‘The Bee Stung Lip Painter’ Concepcion Abila. What I've learned about her and reminded of is that this is indeed a precious piece. A few of my own family members, favorite dear ladies they have been to me, were named for her. This Saint helps to intercede for impossible, hopeless and lost causes along with being the Patroness Saint of Infants & Children. Her story is Miraculous, I'm either keeping her or passing her on to a family member. A very precious Retablo.
 The story of Saint Philomena is that of a Roman emperor’s wrath and how that anger turned into the miraculousness that is the Girl Saint. 
A Royal Family of the small Grecian State of Corfu met Publius a Doctor from Rome who taught them to embrace Catholicism. The following year on January 10, Lumena aka Philomena was born and Baptized as a ‘Friend of the Light’ (the symbol of the Sun to represent Christ, the symbol of the Moon to represent the Virgin Mother). At 13 Philomena travelled with her parents convoy to Rome to meet with the Emperor Diocletian to plead for Peace. The Emperor only agreed to terms for Peace if the young Girl would marry him. Her parents agreed, yet Philomena resisted as she had taken a vow of chastity to Jesus Christ. In a rage the Emperor had the young girl chained and put into a dungeon for 40 days. On the 37th day she had a vision of the Holy Virgin Mother who gave her courage to not acquiesce. 
With the Archangel Gabriel by her side the young girl was bound to a pillar and tortured after which she was tossed back into the dungeon to be left for dead. There in the prison Angels appeared anointing her wounds with Heavenly Oils which cured her gaping open soars. Still refusing the Emperors wishes, he ordered that she be tied with an anchor around her neck and tossed into the River Tiber to drown. Yet the Angels interceded and cut the rope of the anchor, leaving it to fall into the mud of the river. The Emperor then declared Philomena to be a Witch and ordered her pierced with Arrows. 
Again the Angels interceded. 
Witnesses to these miracles began to convert to Catholicsm. Infuriated, Diocletian ordered that she be beheaded. At 3PM on a Friday afternoon a very long way from her family home in Greece she was beheaded ascending to Heaven. 
In May 1802, Saint Philomena’s resting place in the catacombs of Saint Priscilla at the Via Salaria in Rome remains were discovered. Marked by 3 Painted Tiles  containing the words LUMENA PAX TE COM FI along with the symbols of an anchor and 2 Arrows, a Javelin, a Palm bough and a Lily.
 Symbology of an anchor reflects Faith in Christ in its similarity to the Cross, there is a Sacred Anchor in Greek and Roman Mythology, we also believe that an anchor symbolizes Hope, Refuge and Preservation of Life. To me I think of an anchor as being grounded and of being a tool of the Fisherman.
In August 1805 the remains/relics were moved to the Hillside Village of Mugnano near Naples, Italy. This Princess of Corfu has travelled a long way from her home, suffered and endured. To those who feel in need of help Saint Philomena is there for you, along with St. Rita of Cascia, St. Jude Thaddeus and St. Gregory of Neocaesarea. These 4 Saints together are known for those who are feeling Hopeless with seemingly insurmountable obstacles in front of them.

Blessings to you all, and please don't give up.
Saint Filamena, the Girl Saint 

Monday, August 1, 2016

40 Hopi Kachina Dolls 1900-1990

Kachina Way KOA Campground Sign 30" wide $195. 
Kachina Wall with 40 Wall Hanger Dolls (not on bases)

These are most of the Kachina Dolls I currently have available as of August 1, 2016 
at Two Graces Plaza Gallery 575-758-4101
Inventory is always fluctuating, for the newest updates on incoming fresh to the market Kachina Dolls, friend me on Facebook. That truly is the easiest way for updates on new inventory of all sorts.

As to Kachina Repairs, many of you have seen an earlier blog post about the fact that I do repair wooden objects, specializing in Kachina Repairs, pre 1970. I prefer Not to Fix newer dolls, only older. If you do have an old Kachina that is in need of being restored please send photos and a short description of what is wrong and needs restoration, to the email provided here.
Thank you for your interest in our Kachina Dolls.

Peeping Out Man 7” tall ca. 1920s Private Collection
Hemis Kachina 10” tall ca. Pre-1920 $3,600.
Koninkatsinam 9 1/2” tall ca. 1940-1950 $395.
Nqayayataqa 8” tall ca. 1940s $375.

Hochani (R.C. Gorman Estate) 13” tall ca late 1970s $650.
Kokopelli Mana 11” tall ca. early 1960s $350.
Corn Boy w Crocheted leggings 11 1/2” tall circa late 1950s $750.

Corn Harvest Kachina 11 1/2” tall ca. late 1950s $595.
Zuni Shalako on base 12” tall ca. late 1960-early1970 $725.
Velvet Shirt 11 1/2” tall ca. early 1960s $195.

Qoqoli 9” tall ca. 1980s $130.
Tasap 8” tall ca. 1965 $295.
Konin 7 1/2” tall ca. early 1990s $175.
HeHeYa Clown 8” tall ca. 1965 $275.

Hopi Ogre 9” tall ca. 2000 $250. 
Sio Ho-Ote Ogre (Van Vechten Estate) 10” tall ca. 1950s $495.
Ahote Hunter 8” tall ca. 1990s $250. 

Asap Mana 5 3/4” tall ca. 1960s $150.
Long Beard 5 1/4” tall ca. 1960s $175.
Hopi Laguna Dancer 7 1/2” tall ca. 1960s $225.
Warrior Rabbit 5 1/2” tall ca. 1970s $175.

Koyemsi by Rae Honytewa 4 1/4” ca. 1990 $195.
Zuni Koyemsi 8 1/2” ca. 1960s $450.
Koyemsi Mudhead 9 1/2” ca. 1960s $350.
Koyemsi by Rae Honytewa 5 1/2” ca. 1990 $250.

Dawa Sun for Kachina Wall Hanger Dolls 5 1/2" tall by 6 1/2" wide contemporary $95.

Route 66 Trading Post Kachina Dolls

Route 66 or Trading Post Dolls continue to rise in value. Originally made for the tourist market rather than for passing out to youngsters from the Hopi Villages during Kachina and Ceremonial dances. Rt. 66 Dolls have a carved rounded base often with a notch as opposed to carved legs and feet. For a very long time, collectors have looked down on these dolls as second rate or of lesser value. For a while they were a great item to collect for the beginning collector. Now collectors are creating vast arrays of these little beauties and values keep going up. With more research and the more I've written on my Blog about Rte. 66 Dolls the more desirable they have become. The most desirable dolls were sold at the Grand Canyon Trading Post, those have a label stating "From the Hopi Villages" either on the back or underside. I currently have one of those dolls available here, which is the second Hopi Mana in the second photo below, a true rare treasure. The next most desirable Route 66 dolls are the ones stamped with the Dawa Sun on the underside, indicating they were created by the Hopi Guild master carver Abbot S.. There are 2 of those dolls in the second and third photos below, a Morning Singer and an Ogre. Many Hopi Carvers did indeed carve this style of doll to sell to trading posts and visitors to the Hopi Mesas. Little by little some of those carvers are being identified, once again adding value into the marketplace. I suspect the small Cloud Dancer in the second photo 5th from the left to be a doll by the great Otto Pentewa, as I've seen others of this nature identified as such.
Mongwa-Owl 5 1/2” tall ca. 1950s $175.
Owl 3 1/2” tall ca. 1980s $65.
Owl Pincushion 4 1/4” tall ca. 1960s $125.
Owl by Frederick Myron 6 1/4” tall ca. 1950s $195. (not a Rte. 66 Doll)

Hopi Mana 4 1/4” tall ca. early 1930s $195.
Hopi Mana (with "From the Hopi Villages" label on the underside) 3 1/2” tall 
ca. late 1920s $295.
Long Beard 3” tall ca. 1990s $50.
Morning Singer w automotive silver paint (Abbot S. Hopi Guild) 3” tall dated 1956 $150.
Cloud Kachina 3” tall ca. 1930-1940s $195.
Warrior 4 1/4” tall ca. 1970s $110.

Koyemsi Mudhead 6 3/4” tall ca. 1960-1970s $125.
Koyemsi Mudhead 3 1/4” tall ca. 1960s $75.
Niman 4 1/2” tall ca. 1950s $175.
Ogre w Hopi Sun Guild stamp 5 3/4” tall ca. 1940-1950s $250.

Hand-Made Carved Sign 9 1/4" tall x 18" wide $200.
Please Note: This is a sign I made myself)

Thank you for taking a look.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mabel Dodge Luhan & Company, Harwood Museum of Art, Taos

American Moderns in the West
Nicolai Fechin "Portrait of Mabel Dodge Luhan"

A tour...
The Mabel Dodge Luhan House as it is a B&B and Conference Center today in Taos

“Dear Mabel,
It is 5am…
It seems so perfect that I wonder…
Is it just a dream I make up…”   
Georgia O’Keeffe
The 'Pink House' today under private ownership, 
where Georgia O'Keeffe and Rebecca Strand stayed on their first trip to Taos.

This exhibition opened here in Taos the weekend of May 22, 2016 it closes on September 11, 2016 (D.H. Lawrence’s Birthday by the way), it will move on to the Albuquerque Museum and later to the Burchfeld Penney Art Center.
Paul Figueroa speaking eloquently at the opening

I was so excited before even seeing the exhibit, that we became members of the Harwood Museum in order to attend the Members opening. (That’s saying a lot for me, as I’d been boycotting the Museum for years due to the turmoil involved with the former Director). The Museum now has a terrific new director Richard Tobin, the staff is beside themselves happy these days and so am I, a marked difference. At this time the exhibit has been open for less than 5 weeks, I've been to see it FIVE times already (and that's with being gone from Taos for 2 of these past 5 weeks).
At the opening 3 of the very best people who also happen to be docents at various Museums in Taos today. 
Holly Sievers, Charlene Tamayo, Lucille Greider.

“One does not get better but different and older and that is always a pleasure.” 
Gertrude Stein
William Penhallow Henderson "Interior, Mabel Dodge Luhan House"

The entire Museum is dedicated to works on display for this exhibition, (the Agnes Martin room is still its own entity as well as the Ken Price room, and the new acquisitions gallery) an enormous commitment. The payoff is that it is simply the best exhibit this Museum has done and the crowds of people visiting is proof.
Marsden Hartley "An Abstract Arrangement of American Indian Symbols"

“I found out that the sunshine in New Mexico could do almost anything with one: make one well if one felt ill, or change a dark mood and lighten it. It entered into one's deepest places and melted the thick, slow densities. It made one feel good. That is, alive.” 
Mabel Dodge Luhan
left: Marsden Hartley "New Mexico Recollection 12" & "Rio Grande River, New Mexico" 
right: Beatrice Mandleman "Twining"

Jacques-Emile Blanche "Portrait of Mrs. Mabel Dodge & Son"

Although there is a timeline provided, Head towards the giant portrait of Mabel and son John Evans by Jacques-Emile Blanche and start in the far back gallery space at the early Marsden Hartley painting, I gasped as I entered the room (the room has an enormous Louis Vuitton suitcase in the middle of it) as you turn towards the next wall to your right there is a lovely drawing by Maurice Stern (husband #3) of Mabel herself. Maurice Stern came to Taos before Mabel, at her suggestion. I’ve not seen much of his artwork other than a few drawings, one of which is a beautiful Fawn at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia
Maurice Stern "Mabel Dodge"

“It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.” 
Gertrude Stein

For some time now the Harwood has displayed a still life painting by Mabel, it is absent from this exhibition, I’d asked one of the curators early on if they would be showing some of her paintings, they chose not to. Personally, I’d like to see a few of her other paintings. 
Mabel on Horseback with Mr. Concha, private collection photo

“Don't everlastingly read messages into paintings – there's the Daisy – you don't rave over or read messages into it – you just look at that bully little flower – isn't that enough?” 
John Marin
Andrew Dasburg "Chantet Lane"

The front space gallery has a selection of Andrew Dasburg paintings, all 5 are exquisite. Recent research by the wonderful historian Liz Cunningham reveals that the “Chantet Lane” 1926 painting is of Jeantete Road. Well there was no true road signage around Taos (until the 60’s), which means if you’d only heard the name spoken you might get the spelling of it wrong. Or, did Dasburg choose to misspell the name on purpose to mislead other painters away from his site, (my speculation). Dasburg also was THE dealer of vintage 'Santos' the Bulto Carvings and Retablo Paintings of Hispanic Artists (the Barnes Foundation has one of the best collections I've seen outside New Mexico thanks to Dasburg).
Five paintings by Andrew Dasburg, to the far right is "Chantet Lane

“You've got to know yourself so you can at last be yourself.” 
D. H. Lawrence
A few of the John Marin works

The Harwood’s grand gallery features the O’Keeffe’s, the John Marin’s, a pair of Diego Rivera drawings (to me looking quite out of place), and a tribute to D.H. Lawrence along with many other rich and beautiful artworks. A surprising choice to include 2 deer watercolors by Knud Merrild who Mabel truly disliked for his being a distraction to Lorenzo. I love that these paintings are included!
"Deer" Knud Merrid

“An artist is only an ordinary man with a greater potentiality.” 
D. H. Lawrence
Dorothy Brett "My Three Fates" (Mabel, Frieda, Lorenzo, Brett w 'Tobey')

Upstairs the displays feature paintings of some of the religious items and paintings of Spirituality, Catholic/Hispanic and Pueblo ceremonies. Again some true jewels upstairs in the 2 rooms there. The Indian School paintings by various artists along with Dorothy Brett’s paintings of ceremonies are treasures to see side by side. The Hispanic Retablos (and Bultos) frame some of the works by the Taos & Santa Fe School Modernists, together complimenting each other, playing off each other, honoring each other. The exhibit gives the Honourable Dorothy Brett a nice place in this piece of the Modernist Taos Art Colony. She has been one of the most underrated of the Taos painters for many years, I hope her time is coming, soon.
Part of Mabel's 30 piece Retablo Collection, at center Marsden Hartley "Blessing the Melon"

“The artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.”
Paul Strand
4 Masterworks by Paul Strand

Scattered throughout the galleries are photographs by Paul Strand, Laura Gilpin, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Alfred Stieglitz, Carl Van Vechten, John Young-Hunter, Rose Clark, John Collier, Marjorie Content, Ernest Knee, Dorothea Lange, Sonya Noskowiak & Henri Cartier-Bresson (who am I missing?). The breathe of the photographers alone would be a masterworks exhibition in its own right! Again, I remind you, they are scattered throughout, please take the time to look.
Ansel Adams "Eagle Dance, San Ildefonso" & Awa Tsireh "Eagle Dance"

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.” 
Ansel Adams
Rebecca Salsbury James "Walking Woman, Taos"

The other day I was docent at the D.H. Lawrence Ranch (I’m President of the Board of Directors for the D.H. Lawrence Ranch Alliance), a woman came up to visit. She told me she’d just been to the Harwood to see the exhibition. One of the Harwood Staff members told her that the ranch was open to the public that day (10AM- 2PM), then and there she decided to stop her viewing of the Mabel Exhibit and drive up to the ranch. I showed her around for a tour afterwards she then return to the Harwood to continue her enjoyment of the Mabel exhibition. I am in awe of how this exhibit is creating such terrific synergy all around Taos. All of the Lawrence Ranch docents mention to visitors that a visit to the Harwood is a must.
Georgia O'Keeffe "Grey Cross with Blue"

“What a life, seeing!” 
John Marin
Paul Strand "Marin Working Near Twining"

It seems of late there’s a lot of synergy around exhibition retrospectives featuring women or their circles, Agnes Martin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Women of Abstract Expressionism and here in Taos, Mabel & Co. I teasingly, lovingly say to women friends, what the heck is up with all these women overshadowing all the men lately??? Well, it’s about time. A few years ago in Taos there was a promotion of “Remarkable Women of Taos”, this may have been a prescient town wide honoring of women that got the ball rolling.
Docent tour of the exhibition 

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticized anyway.” 
Eleanor Roosevelt 

My personal sanctuaries are Museums and the forest, both are inspiring and nurturing. Visit Taos before September 11, 2016 or you’ll have missed a treasure chest of inspiration and loveliness right here in the place Mabel chose to call her home.
Emil Bisttram "Creative Force"

“Love art. Of all lies, it is the least untrue.” 
Gustave Flaubert
Agnes Pelton "The Voice"

This is a very small glimpse of the exhibition which will change as other works become available and as it moves to the other 2 museums scheduled at this time.
Georgia O'Keeffe "Taos, New Mexico"

Purchase the catalogue (which I have yet to do), “Mabel Dodge Luhan and Company, Moderns in the West” in hardcover. My gratitude to the curators Lois Rudnick and Ma-lin Wilson-Powell, along with all of the staff at the Harwood Museum. You should all be quite proud of this accomplishment, congratulations.

Portrait of Mabel Dodge Luhan, private collection