The Paul E. & Barbara H. Weiss Collection of Pueblo Pottery

Storage jar (olla), ca. 1890–1910. New Mexico, Acoma Pueblo. Earthenware, pigment. 2007.75.1

The Paul E. and Barbara H. Weiss Collection of Pueblo Pottery represents a significant gift of Native American art to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Over the last ten years, Paul and Barbara Weiss have traveled throughout the southwestern United States, carefully selecting outstanding examples of pottery, the oldest of which come from the venerated pueblos of Acoma, San Ildefonso, and Hopi. The collection also includes contemporary pieces made by some of today’s most prominent potters from pueblos with longstanding traditions of excellence in pottery making.

Pueblo pottery is a dynamic and evolving Native American art form. The combined elements of community and family are integral to understanding this unique art practice. Ancestral patterns and methods are handed down through generations and often identify artists as members of a particular family. The skill and craftsmanship evident in each pot not only demonstrate the talent of the individual artist but also the continuation of a rich cultural heritage that has been unfolding for centuries. Several families have made significant contributions to this genre, and names like Tafoya, Martinez, Lewis, Chino, Gutierrez, and Nampeyo are synonymous with outstanding craftsmanship and ingenuity.

A representative selection of pottery from this collection is currently on view in the Art of the Americas gallery.