the cameros collection
Blue Rain Gallery has established its pre-eminence in the realm of contemporary fine art so firmly that it’s easy to forget that we have long been the leader in offering the best in Native pottery. Over the past 25 years we’ve shared the talents of such luminaries as Al Qöyawayma, Richard Zane Smith, Tammy Garcia, and more, all groundbreaking artists whose work has stood the test of time. We’ve also been fortunate to acquire entire collections from some of the most discriminating collectors, which we now are sharing with the public.
On Friday, August 18, we’ll be releasing a treasure trove of exceptional Southwestern pottery from the collection of Nancy and Alan Cameros, which comprises the work of the aforementioned artists and others—the finest Native American potters of the past 125 years. You’ll probably never see a more comprehensive and visually stunning collection, with a breadth, variety, and quality that borders on astonishing and whose roster of artists reads like a Who’s Who of Southwestern ceramists.
Among the highlights are polychrome pots by Maria and Julian Martinez of San Ildefonso Pueblo, two of the biggest names in Pueblo pottery, as well as exquisite black-on-black collaborations between Maria and her son, Popovi Da. From her grandson, Tony Da, we offer an extremely rare piece: a sgrafitto-carved redware turtle jar that features elaborate inlays of stone and silver, an intricately sculpted and decorated stopper, and a surprise sculpture inside.
Another highlight is a monumental storage jar with an impressed bear claw by Sara Fina Tafoya of Santa Clara Pueblo, whose long line of descendants includes Margaret Tafoya, considered the matriarch of Santa Clara pottery, Nancy and Nathan Youngblood, Grace Medicine Flower, and other notables, all of whom are also represented in this collection. Jody Folwell and her daughter, Susan, also from Santa Clara, bring an experimental, avant-garde take on contemporary pottery that demonstrates the flexibility and adaptability of the art form while honoring its traditional roots.
From Hopi come the works of Hopi-Tewa artist Nampeyo, who single-handedly revived the designs and techniques of the ancient Sikyatki people, as well as contemporary pots by her descendants Fannie Nampeyo, Dextra Quotskuyva, and Les Namingha, among others. A particularly exciting piece is a large panel of painted tiles, possibly the only one in existence, by Jacob Koopee Nampeyo, which illustrates the distinctive Hopi designs that appear to be contemporary abstracts but which were inspired by the Sikyatki designs of millennia past.
Also not to be missed are the dazzling geometric designs of Lucy Lewis and her clan from Acoma Pueblo, their distinctive white slip providing negative space that lets the artistry of the designs stand out.
All in all, this is one of the broadest, most definitive collections ever compiled, and we’re excited to be able to once again offer these masterpieces to today’s discriminating collectors. Pricing for the collection will be available on Thursday, August 18th and the sale will open on Friday morning, August 19th at 9am in our Downtown gallery location. This is a collecting opportunity you won’t want to miss!