Lupita was an excellent potter born into one
of the Roybal families that were very
artistic. Her siblings included Alfonso “Awa Tsireh” Roybal, Santana Roybal Martinez and
Mella Roybal. Her work is often confused with Lupita Vigil Martinez, with ones madden
name being the same as the others married name.
She married Romando Vigil in 1931 after his first wife, Juanita Montoya Vigil, passed
away in 1930. She helped raise his children from Juanita which included Carmalita, Tom
and Albert. All three went on to be artists at some level. Our understanding is they were
very close to Lupita and knew her as their mother.
Lupita (Elsie) made very nice corn meal pots and did her own designs. Her work
included the traditional bowls and plates. Her feather designs were very wide compared to
typical San Ildefonso feather designs.
Lupita occasionally drew paintings that Romando signed as his own. She was an
excellent pottery and unknown painter who should be well respected in the history of San
Ildefonso Pueblo artists. Her work is rare and hard to find. To date, we have not located
a painting with her signature yet we believe she did paint and considering her pottery
designs, she was probably a fine painter.
(Example of Lupita “Elsie” Roybal Vigil plate)
(Signed "Lupita R Vigil")
Lupita and Romando never had children and had a rocky relationship. Lupita, her
nickname was Elsie, later had one child Joey Vigil whos father was Wilbert Thomas
Johnson. Elsie’s sister, Santana Roybal Martinez, convinced Elsie to say the father was
Romando Vigil, hence Joey’s last name is Vigil.