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 Joe Hilario Herrera  (1923 - 2001)

/ er-RARE-uh/
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Lived/Active: New Mexico / Mexico      Known for: abstract Indian dance figure painting

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Ad Code: 3
Joe Hilario Herrera
from Auction House Records.
The American Spirit
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Adobe Gallery:
Joe Herrera Herrera (1921-2001), born into a rich art inheritance through his father’s pueblo of Cochiti and his mother’s pueblo of San Ildefonso, was painting before he entered the Indian School in Santa Fe.   His mother, Tonita Pena (Quah Ah), gave him thorough training in art techniques.

As a painter, he was somewhat of a rebel because he was "one of the first of the Indian artists to move away from traditional representational art into the more abstract forms of self expression." (Lester 231)

According to Clara Lee Tanner, “Herrera developed three outstanding traits which are reflected in his work—one in which there is a perfectly delineated single dance figure, the second a dance group, and third an abstract style utilizing native designs.  In his execution of the group and single dance figures, there is no competitor for perfection.  Often he has used a colored paper to complement the tones in which his subjects are painted.  He further enhances the excellent color contrasts by doing very fine work.”

The mediums he used for his artwork were oil, acrylic, watercolor, pencil, ink, pastel and casein.  He also did mural painting, and has work at the Santa Fe Indian School and Maisel's Indian Trading Post in Albuquerque.

In 1968, Herrera had a radio program from Santa Fe whose purpose was to serve as an information center for his pueblo.  This was one of the activities that distracted him from his painting career, something that those persons supporting his art career regarded as unfortunate.

He died September 26, 2001 and is buried at Santa Fe National Cemetery -  Section 1 Site 172.

Sources include:
Clara Lee Tanner, Southwest Indian Painting
Patrick D, Lester, The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters
Birth and death date courtesy of Mark Mulholland.

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