Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date



Santa Clara painter Pablita Velarde and her artist daughter, Helen Hardin, are often discussed in both popular and academic literature as being representative, respectively, of two very different artistic traditions. Velardes art is commonly viewed as very much a product of her Dorothy Dunn-trained Santa Fe Studio background, and Hardin is seen as an avant-garde, wholly innovative artistic force representative of the generation of Native artists more aligned with the anti-Studio philosophies of the Institute of American Indian Arts, which was developing as Hardin was beginning her career in painting. This thesis will examine the modes of representation that have led to Velarde and Hardin being commonly discussed in terms of stylistic opposition in their artistic production. Examining paintings by Velarde, Hardin, and several other Native artists, undertaking a discussion of artistic methodology, and providing a close reading of available commentary by both women, I will demonstrate that the artistic relationship between Pablita Velarde iii and Helen Hardin cannot be accurately portrayed within the constructed binary system so often imposed upon their art by art critics, museum curators, and art historians. While the two women, during their respective lifetimes, did not consciously counter commonly held notions placing them in an artistically opposed placement of 'old' versus 'new,' 'traditional' versus 'modern,' their art speaks to a much more subtle interplay of ideas, techniques, and styles.'



Document Type


Degree Name

Art History

Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Advisor

Szabo, Joyce

First Committee Member (Chair)

Anderson-Riedel, Susanne

Second Committee Member

Andrews, Justine


binary, Native American painting