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An extraordinary original drawing of a Hopi “Ang”
or Longhair Kachina by Charles Loloma, c.1960’s-70’s
The world-renowned Hopi jewelry artist Charles Loloma (1921-1991) actually began his long artistic career as a young teenager in the 1930’s working as a painting assistant for the great Hopi artist and educator, Fred Kabotie (1900-1986). The young Loloma had been recognized by Kabotie at an early age as something of an artistic prodigy and in this capacity, he helped paint a beautiful series of large Hopi Kachina murals for the landmark Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco in 1938-39 several of which are pictured below. In addition to his highly-accomplished painting skills, Loloma went on to undertake a serious study of ceramics in the late 1940’s and, along with his first wife, Otellie Pasiyeva Loloma, became a distinguished professional art pottery maker.
Only starting in the very late 1940’s and early 1950’s did Loloma begin his initial experimentations with jewelry-making which would eventually become his defining artistic career and legacy, yet through it all he kept on making drawings; of abstract compositions, Hopi village scenes, architectural renderings, landscapes, personal portraits and of Hopi kachinas. There is no solid evidence Loloma ever sold his drawings in a commercial manner, however, he mostly made them for himself or gave them as gifts to various friends, colleagues and family so in the marketplace they are quite scarce and very difficult to come by. The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona staged a wonderful exhibition in 2015 entitled “Loloma: Expressions in Metal, Ink and Clay” which included a number of his drawings along with jewelry and pottery pieces.
“If there is beauty in a piece of art, a person
can absorb it and become more beautiful.”
Ang (Long Hair) Katsina
“The Long Hair Katsina is a singer of sweet songs who brings rain and flowers. His beard and loose tassels of feathers symbolize rain and clouds. They appear as dancers in a group at Niman and at plaza dances with manas. Their purpose is to bring rain, and it is said that they seldom dance without the appearance of a soft gentle rain. The Long Hair is danced from the Rio Grande to the Hopi Mesas in almost the same form. Among the Hopis there are many varieties but the regular Angak'china is the one shown here. They appear in a group and sing a very melodious song which may be one of the reasons that they are such favorites.”
And not only are they extremely rare, Loloma’s drawings are simply remarkable in their breathtaking quality and beauty. We have had perhaps only a dozen or so of Charles’ drawings in all over the past 35-plus years and in our opinions this is unquestionably the finest one we have had yet. The overall precision, detail and sophisticated technique evident in this work are just astounding, the kachina figure seems almost alive and it is imbued with a profound, deep and intense spirituality. On close examination, one can see that Loloma drew the figure largely in the negative which is to say that he left open spaces in the design which are as much an important part of the drawing as the solid areas he filled in.
The drawing is done in black graphite pencil and pen on very nicely-textured white art paper and it measures 11 1/2” by 6 3/4” (sight). The framed dimensions are 18” by 13 1/2”. The drawing is properly and beautifully signed “Loloma” in black ink at the lower right and it is in excellent original condition. The drawing has been archivally matted to the highest conservation standards and very beautifully-framed in a custom-made hand-carved natural maple wood frame by Goldleaf Framemakers of Santa Fe, Santa Fe’s finest fine art framers, using state-of-the-art ultraviolet light-resistant "TruVue” Museum conservation glass.
The drawing also has a most interesting provenance; it came from the private collection of a very prominent old Texas ranching family, The King family, proprietors of the famous King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas, who were also enthusiastic longtime collectors of Charles Loloma’s jewelry. It is likely that Loloma might have originally given the drawing to these well-known clients as a gift.
This exquisite drawing is a true and rare treasure in every way; a world-class artwork by a world-class artist worthy of an honored place in any collection, public or private.
Price available upon request
Hopi Kachina Paintings by Charles Loloma, c. 1939 at The Golden Gate International Exposition.
-Photo source and © “Loloma, Beauty is his Name”, Martha H. Struever, Wheelwright Museum, Santa Fe, 2005, pp.5
Some of Loloma’s drawings in the “Loloma: Expressions in Metal, Ink and Clay” exhibition at The Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, 2015
Hopi Kachina Mural by Charles Loloma at The Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona