Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Art History


Katherine Manthorne

Committee Members

Judy Sund

Michael Lobel

W. Jackson Rushing III

Subject Categories

American Art and Architecture | American Studies | Art and Design | Arts and Humanities | Ceramic Arts | Fine Arts | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Indigenous Studies | Modern Art and Architecture | Painting


Native American, Pueblo, American Art, John Sloan, Tonita Pena, Maria Martinez


This dissertation examines art produced in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico during the early twentieth century, putting the works of Pueblo artists who lived in the area into dialogue with the works of Anglo-American modernists who traveled there. I take as case studies three artists whose practices are linked by both circumstance and agenda: Maria Martinez, a famed Pueblo potter; John Sloan, a leading member of The Eight and the Ashcan School; and Tonita Peña, a Pueblo watercolor painter. Weaving together Anglo-American and American Indian art history – which are too often bifurcated into separate accounts, omitting rich histories of intercultural exchange – I critically analyze two bodies of work often neglected by art historians: the work Sloan produced outside of New York, and hybrid American Indian art production that combines Native traditions with modernist Anglo influences. I propose that Martinez, Sloan, and Peña had a common agenda – conveying the fantasy of the “authentic Indian” – but pursued it in different ways and towards different ends. Each artist’s mobilization of the problematic notion of authenticity tacked between lived experiences of American Indians and Anglo projections. By attending to the ways these artists both interrogate and depend on the problematic concept of an “authentic Indian,” this project has important implications for our understanding of the pictorial and performative construction of race. It also promotes a fuller geographic and conceptual understanding of Sloan’s career, attends to the crucial performativity of Martinez’s oeuvre, and brings to the fore the paintings of Peña, a significant artist whose works have until recently languished on the sidelines of both the history of American Indian art as well as narratives of American art.

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