This adorable ram, with the sweetest, sheepish expression, is vintage in age and unsigned.
Nevertheless, all the black pottery figures we have had, in the past 30-odd years, or more, have been by Paul and Dorothy Gutierrez, or their younger relatives.
Paul, who sadly passed away a few years ago, was related to well-known figural potters: grandson of the celebrated Lela and Van Gutierrez, and son of Margaret and Luther Gutierrez.
This ram is charming realistic, and abstract at the same time: No careful details, but his body structure, head, and tail are very natural.
There is no attempt to create the illusion of curly fleece, etc, just a wonderful, stone polished surface of smooth curves that beg to be caressed.
Like much of the Gutierrez’ work, there are unpolished areas as well – the bottoms of his legs are left matte, suggesting his hooves.
This combination of stone polish and matte surfaces is difficult to achieve and was a hallmark of these fine potters.
Seen head-on, he has the friendliest smile, seemingly asking for a new home!