Published: October 18, 2011
Cowan’s September 9 American Indian and Western art auction was a success by any criteria: there were 648 bidders from 13 countries competing for 423 lots; the auction brought in a sales total of $612,426; there was an 81 percent sell-through rate, with 27 percent of the lots selling above estimate; and the biggest seller was the Edward Curtis North American Indians Portfolio Volume 1: The Apache. The Jicarillas. The Navaho , which realized $28,200
In fact, several Edward Curtis portfolios sold well. Estimated at $10/15,000, the Curtis North American Indians Portfolio Volume 6: The Piegan. The Cheyenne. The Arapaho, which brought $15,862. And, Curtis’s orotone “Vanishing Race” photograph, estimated at $5/7,000, sold for $11,750. This lot was signed and in the original Arts and Crafts bronzed gesso and wood batwing frame with Curtis’s descriptive label included.
Of the several Acoma ollas offered, most exceeded estimates. A late Nineteenth Century, globular form with a short neck and a deeply indented base with two major friezes consisting of densely decorated hatched geometrics separated by an open design of pinwheels and curlicues sold at $15,862; a second Acoma olla, estimated at $2,5/3,500, climbed to $10,575. Not to be outdone, a Laguna olla that had a $5/7,000 estimate also more than doubled its low estimate when it sold at $11,162.
Other Native American objects that were hotly contested were a Mungo Martin (1881‱962), Kwakiutl carved and painted totem pole that sold for $14,100, and a Tlingit polychrome carved totem pole that realized $12,377. Modeled after Chief Shakes’s totem, and carved of cedar with a hollowed back, this pole depicts six figures painted in green, black and red. It is dated to the first quarter Twentieth Century and is mounted on a wooden base.
A painting of Quen-Chow-A-Moqui by Elbridge Ayer Burbank (1858‱949) sold for $12,337. An Aleta Tsosie Navajo pictorial weaving titled “Squaw Dance” is finely woven, with the subjects depicting the only ceremony where men and women dance together. It is composed of 52 individual figures, 15 paired figures, 18 horse, sheep and cows, and it sold for $5,287.
An Apache/Kiowa beaded and painted hide jacket, thread-sewn and beaded using rose, translucent green, white and black beads, realized in $7,637. The softly tanned hide is coated in yellow, red and blue-green pigment. A triangular bib hangs from the front and back of the jacket, while a thin fringe falls elegantly at the shoulder and arm seams. Buttons are copper.
All prices given include the buyer’s premium.
For more information, www.cowans.com or 513-871-1670.
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