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A beautifully hand-carved and painted wooden figure of Jesus Christ by Luis Tapia, 1990

A very unusual and strikingly carved and painted wooden figure by the extremely accomplished and influential contemporary Santa Fe, New Mexico artist, wood carver and furniture maker, Luis Tapia

(b. 1950). Luis Tapia, who, interestingly, is a relative of the distinguished earlier 20th Century New Mexico woodcarver, Celso Gallegos, is one of the true giants of contemporary New Mexican art, a ground-breaking artist who has long struggled against and broken free of the restrictive limitations of a genre which is not always necessarily taken as seriously as it should be because it is often not considered to be so-called “Fine Art”.

In the 1970s, at the height of the Hispano empowerment movement, Tapia was one the founders of La Cofradía de Artes y Artesanos Hispanicos, a society devoted to contemporary New Mexican art and artists. For the past 40 years, Luis Tapia’s work has been eagerly sought after for the collections of prominent Southwestern museums and it has been the subject of numerous one-man gallery shows and retrospectives. Luis’ son, Sergio is also a distinguished and exceptionally-talented New Mexican artist and Luis’ wife, Carmella Padilla, is one of the country’s leading scholars and authors in the field of New Mexico art and history.

To our eye, this fascinating piece appears deliberately intended to stand at the junction midway between Devotional Art and Folk Art in that this particular depiction of Jesus Christ appears to be both “saintly” or “God-like” and yet is also decidedly very human. This is accomplished in our view by Tapia’s sensitive and subtle presentation of Jesus Christ's face and his beautiful execution and extreme emphasis on the size and detail of the Son of God’s healing or blessing hands. The figure measures 20" in height, 10" in width and is about 5 1/2" in depth. It is signed and dated "Luis T 90" in pencil on the back. It is in excellent original condition. It could either be mounted on a display stand or hung on a peg or mounting bracket in the wall.

Price $1,450

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