About the Artist
The first record found of him is in Santa Fe on July 19, 1815 when he married Maria Josefa Lucero. Three years later, he made a pledge to the church, but he never paid, which likely indicates he had financial problems early in his career. By 1823, he and his wife and children lived in the Bario de San Francisco, which was the woodworkers' district of Santa Fe.
One of his first commissions, between 1818 and 1826, was the altar screen in the church of San Lorenzo at Picuris Pueblo near Santa Fe. He used tempera paint. Around 1835, he moved to a new home in the village of Quemado, later named Cordova, New Mexico. He went there to be with his second wife, Josefa Cordova, whom he married after the death of his first wife. There he carved and painted in folk-art style the main altar of the Quemado Church of San Antonio, and this became one of many projects that built his reputation throughout the Santa Cruz Valley. He did work on most of the churches in the area including at Santa Cruz, El Valle, Truchas, Chimayo, Hernandez, and Pojoaque. He also worked in the Taos area.
Christine Mather, Essay, American Folk Painters of Three Centuries, edited by Jean Lipman and Tom Armstrong