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date: 28 January 2020

Herrera, Velino [Ma-Pe-Wi]locked

(b Zia Pueblo, NM, Oct 22, 1902; d Santa Fe, NM, Jan 18, 1973).
  • Arthur Silberman



(b Zia Pueblo, NM, Oct 22, 1902; d Santa Fe, NM, Jan 18, 1973).

Native American Pueblo painter. He was a student at the Santa Fe Indian School (see Native North American art, §IV, 2) in 1918 when Elizabeth DeHuff (1887–1983), wife of the school superintendent, invited him and several other students, including Kabotie, Fred and Otis Polelonema (1902–1981), to spend afternoons painting in her living room. After a showing at the Museum of New Mexico, the work was exhibited at the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York in 1920. Extensive press coverage stimulated so much interest that, in effect, the early Santa Fe Native American art movement was thus launched. Thereafter, Herrera’s paintings were widely exhibited throughout the US and Europe. He illustrated several books, including educational material for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 1939 he painted murals in the Department of Interior Building in Washington, DC, and in 1954 he was awarded the French government’s Palmes d’Académiques for his contribution to Native American art. Herrera constantly developed and added to his skills. He came to excel in realistic compositions displaying a command of perspective and modelling, fine detail and sensitive portraiture. His inventive abstract compositions, based on traditional Pueblo symbolism, were emulated by many other artists. Nevertheless, through most of his life he was estranged from his native ...

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