Atencio, Gilbert

Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Greeley, CO
Date of Death: 
April 1995


      The nephew of world reknown potter Maria Martinez, Gilbert Benjamin Atencio was born in 1930 in Greeley, CO.  Gilbert was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp.  Gilbert seldom ventured far from his native San Ildefonso pueblo, due to a strong sense of family & tribal responsibility.  Gilbert lived in Santa Fe, NM.  Gilbert died in April 1995. 
      A painter, ceramist & a medical & technical illustrator, Gilbert's choice of medium was watercolor & clay.  Gilbert was inspired by the stories his aunts told him about their lives.  Gilbert believed in traditional Indian ways.  His favorite subjects were ceremonial figures & the ceremonies & other scenes of Pueblo life.  Initially, Gilbert painted in a traditional flat style of painting, but by the 1980's he was experimenting with adaptations of a more abstract or semi-abstract style of painting.
      Gilbert exhibited extensively & won numerous awards at the Hastings College Art Center, the Arizona State Museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco - California Palace of the Legion of Honor, the Heard Museum, the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonials, the Laguna Gloria Art Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts, the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, the Museum of New Mexico, the Oklahoma Museum of Art, the Philbrook Museum of Art, Harvard University's Peabody Museum, the Scottsdale National Indian Art Exhibition & the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
      Gilbert participated in such prestigious exhibits & tours as the Heard Museum's When The Rainbow Touches Down (1986) & Shared Visions:  Native American Painters & Sculptors in the Twentieth Century (1991-92), the Institute of American Indian & Alaska Culture & Arts Development's One With The Earth (1990-91), the Philbrook Museum of Art's American Indian Paintings from the Permanent Collection (1947-65) & Indianischer Kunstler exhibit & tour of West Germany (1984-85), the University of Oklahoma European Tours (1955-56 & 1958-61), the U.S. Department of Interior's First Annual Invitational Exhibition of American Indian Paintings (1964-65) & the U.S. Department of State's Contemporary American Indian Art (1963).
      Gilbert's artwork graces the public collections of the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Northern Arizona, the Museum of New Mexico, the Heard Museum, the Philbrook Museum of Art, the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History & Art, the Institute of American Indian & Alaska Culture & Arts Development, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco's M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, the U.S. Department of Interior's Indian Arts & Crafts Board's Denman Collection & the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.
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