Raymond Poseyesva (1901 ?-1953)
Pottery Design Hopi Sikyatki Polychrome, circa 1930s, Watercolor. Edition: Unique. Signed, "by R. Poseyesva", directly beneath image.
Image: 5 1/4 x 5 1/4 inches (133 x 133 mm). Sheet: 11 1/2 x 8 1/4 (292 x 209 mm).
References: Snodgrass 1968, Earle and Kennard 1971, Tanner 1973, Lester 1995.
Inventory ID: 1069
Very good condition. Painted on brown wove paper. A slight bit of puckering around the image from the application of watercolor to the paper, otherwise, considering age and Second Mesa, Shungopovi provenance, in fine condition.
An early Hopi flat school watercolor illustrating the interior of a Sikyatki Polychrome bowl. In the time period that this watercolor was painted Hopi created illustrations of pottery designs were very rare.
Hopi artist, Raymond Poseyesva, was part of the early twentieth-century Native American watercolor school that painted in flat style, generally characterized by the absence of, or little use of, perspective or shadow. A contemporary of such early Hopi greats as Otis Polelonema, Fred Kabotie, and Waldo Mootzka, little is known of Poseyesva. Snodgrass (1968:149) mentions his tendency to depict Katcinas, that he was originally from Shungopovi, on Second Mesa, and was, at some time a resident of Winslow, Arizona. Tanner (1973:259) makes slight reference to him, parroting Snodgrass's comments and adding that he was "a very old Hopi in the 1950s...." information probably based on her conversations with Alfred Whiting (see her footnote). Lester (1995:444), repeats Snodgrass and adds no new information other than a middle name, John. Lester's evidence for this middle name is lacking and should probably be disregarded until proved.
A death certificate on file with the Arizona Department of Health Services would seem to be the one associated with this artist. According to the form, a Raymond Poseyesva (no middle name), living "all his life" at Shungopovi, died on March 27, 1953, the cause of death was listed as lead poison. No birth date was recorded, his occupation was recorded as "farming and painting."