Small Hopi-Tewa pot with abstract bird design, clearly signed “Annie Nampeyo” on the bottom. 1930s-1940s (?). While this is not a major piece of pottery, it was done with more care (and better firing) than 1999-13. For a finer signed Annie pot, see 2009-04. For the full range of pots in the collection by Annie, see the Artist List
As the Blairs write in their book “The Legacy of A Master Potter: Nampeyo”:
Only a few works signed ‘Annie’ have been located, and it is not known if Annie could write, so it is possible that the signature had been applied by someone other than Annie.… Later in life (after she was her Mother’s main pottery-making support and after Fannie became an active potter in the 1930s) Annie was plagued with poor health and failing eyesight, as had been her mother’s fate. The children noted that she was subjected increasingly to severe coughing spells as well as arthritis, and she required more rest than normal….As her eyesight dinned, Annie’s children began to help her with pottery decoration. Rachel most often assisted her….” (1999:180, 184)
Since Fannie did not begin to sign her Mother’s pots “Nampeyo” until 1930, by which time Annie no longer produced large amounts of pottery, this pot was likely made after 1930. A signed Annie pot in Rick Dillingham’s collection with a similar signature dates from the 1940s. Annie made less pottery as her family responsibilities grew and her health failed. Thus one supposes that the few signed Annie pots were done later in her life.
It seems that Fannie began signing her mother’s pots “Nampeyo” shortly after 1930, when the Museum of Northern Arizona began encouraging maker identification for its new Hopi Show (see 1985-01, 1997-01, 2002-12, and 2007-12). By coincidence the name “Fannie Nampeyo” is spelled “Annie Nampeyo” with the addition of the one letter “F.” A review of pots in the collection signed “Fannie Nampeyo” (1981-05, 1995-12, 2001-07 and 2009-01) thus provide several imbedded Annie signatures and the lettering of these Fannie signatures seems to match the Annie signature on 2000-06. (See also, the signed Annie pot from the Dillingham collection with the same Annie signature, Blair, 1999:XIV.) Thus it seems that pot 2006-06 was most likely made by Annie and signed by her sister Fannie. (See 2008-01 for a similar pot.)
This conclusion is challenged by a conversation I had with Priscilla Namingha Nampeyo (7/8/05), Priscilla said that Annie’s pots were signed by her youngest daughter Beatrice because she had the most white-person’s education than any other daughter. Pots by Beatrice are extremely rare. She was born in 1912 died in 1942 a young woman. A pot by Beatrice was shown in the “Seven Families” collection in 1974 (Barsook 1974:34). Rick noted, “She was briefly involved with pottery, but moved away after marrying” (ibid.). The only other Beatrice pots that I know of are 2002-08 and 2005-04 in this collection. Examination of the signature on these two pots indicates a signature that is very similar to her Aunt Fannie. There is one striking difference, however. On all five pots that I am sure were signed by Fannie (1981-05, 1995-12, 2001-07, 2007-12 and 2009-01), the “E” in “Nampeyo” is a capital letter. Annie pot 2000-06 also has a capital “E” in Nampeyo. On the two Beatrice pots in the collection, this letter is not capitalized. This slight evidence indicates that Beatrice did not sign 2006-06.
Priscilla also said that Annie made only a few pots later and life and these were painted (and signed) be her daughter Rachel. The “e” in “Nampeyo” on the one pot I have that was signed by Rachel Namingha Nampeyo (1989-06) is a small “e” and is not capitalized. Thus I conclude that Rachel did not sign 2006-06.
Note that although the signature on a second signed “Annie Nampeyo” pot (1999-13) is quite faded and difficult to read, the “e” in “Nampeyo” on pot 1999-13 is not capitalized and suggests that it was not signed by Fannie. Instead, pot 1999-13 was probably signed by either Beatrice or Rachel, as suggest by Priscilla.