Artist Spotlight: JD Roybal

Works by Midcentury Native American artist JD Roybal reflect Pueblo ceremonials with an illustrative and playful approach.  Born in 1922, José Desiderio Roybal (JD Roybal) was from San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico. Revered for its tradition of black on black pottery, San Ildefonso was home to potters like Maria Martinez and JD’s parents, Tonita and Juan Roybal. Following in the footsteps of his uncle, painter Awa Tsireh (Alfonso Roybal), JD Roybal, too, gravitated toward two dimensional works.  

Animated ceremonial dancers feature as prominent subjects in Roybal’s works, with a favorite being Koshare clowns. Mischievous and spirited, Roybal represents the dancers in single portraits and group processionals. Often posed in profile, these figures stand out on a white ground with graphic composition.