Can anyone recommend a reputable, fair priced, place to purchase a Storyteller Figurine in Santa Fe?
Thanks for any suggestions.
There are many. Pretty much all the places along the Plaza are "reputable," in the sense that they'll represent their wares honestly and you won't get any mass-produced imports from ThirdWorldistan(*) masquerading as Pueblo goods. I am reluctant to name specific dealers (don't want to show too much favoritism), but the ones right on or near the Plaza should be OK with only rare, obvious exceptions, while some of the places out toward the strip malls in the commercial part of town.... not so much. As to whether they are "fair priced," that's somewhat in the eye of the beholder. Prices will certainly be marked up compared to getting the same goods from a vendor. Several incidents in my past -- once bidding against a gallery's buyer for a particular Navajo rug that we later saw in the gallery, another when we arranged with a San Ildefonso potter to make small pots as gifts for members of our wedding party -- suggest to me that a markup of 30% is common, but that's all anecdotal and not necessarily the norm. The markups, in any rate, will be smaller than you'd experience going to New York City or Chicago for the same goods.
You can always get things directly from the vendors at the Palace of the Governors on the north side of the Plaza. Authenticity is guaranteed, and prices are as fair as you make them (bargaining is normal, but don't get carried away). The down side is that you're not guaranteed to find storytellers there -- depends on who shows up that day -- and in general, the quality is not as high as in the galleries. The latter, however, may not be a concern for you if you're not looking for something of "art" quality. Vendors' stands in other locations are more likely to have authenticity concerns.
Canyon Road is the famous art district of Santa Fe, and if you want to go in the opposite direction from the vendors at the Palace and shell out big bucks for art-quality goods, that's the place to do it. I have no specific recommendations for dealers there, however.
Final note: in general, value for dollar is actually better for the higher-priced stuff. Even good potters have to make tourist trinkets to pay the bills, and their value as anything but memorabilia is limited. Once you get more "serious" (say above $500 -- don't take that too exactly), the tourist stuff goes away and you will have a piece of art that is worth what you pay for it.
(*)Incidentally, I use the "ThirdWorldistan" pejorative only in the sense of objecting to mass-produced junk being passed off as "authentic Indian" or "Native American" or whatever. There are places in Santa Fe where you can get *very* good products from overseas, including some really beautiful African goods -- we have a fabulous basket from Tanzania that was purchased in Santa Fe. But that's a subject for a different thread..
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an in-depth response. We went on a scouting mission today to price and pick some favorites. We found a couple of places right off the plaza as you suggested with some knowledgeable sales help and authentic pieces. Tomorrow we will make a final decision. Wish us luck!
I, too, wanted to purchase a storyteller several years ago. I was fortunate to buy one from an artisan at the Taos Pueblo. As an art teacher, I was thrilled to buy directly from the artist. It was special to actually meet and converse with her.
IMG_2195.jpeg We were able to find a beautiful one in one of the reputable shops on the plaza. We just love it.
We did find one in one of the reputable shops on the Plaza. None of the native vendors under the portal had any the days we were there. We just love it. Lots of children! Sorry for the double post. Was trying to add a photo, but it wouldn’t let me.Edited: 01 June 2018, 12:18