Maria Montoya Martinez was a Native American artist who created internationally known pottery. Martinez, her husband Julian, and other family members, including her son Popovi Da, examined traditional Pueblo pottery styles and techniques to create pieces which reflect the Pueblo people's legacy of fine artwork and crafts. The works of Maria Martinez, and especially her black ware pottery, survive in many museums, including the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, and more. The Penn Museum in Philadelphia holds eight vessels – three plates and five jars – signed either "Marie" or "Marie & Julian".
Maria Martinez was from the San Ildefonso Pueblo, a community located 20 miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico. At an early age, she learned pottery skills from her aunt and recalls this "learning by seeing" starting at age eleven, as she watched her aunt, grandmother, and father's cousin work on their pottery during the 1890s. During this time, Spanish tinware and Anglo enamelware had become readily available in the Southwest, making the creation of traditional cooking and serving pots less necessary.