Published: July 11, 2006
Sotheby’s has set a record for an American Indian art object at auction when an early and important Upper Missouri River man’s quilled and pony beaded hide shirt, probably Blackfoot, arguably the finest shirt of its type to appear at auction, recently sold to a private collector for $800,000.
The shirt was among the 39 lots comprising the collection of property from the Earl of Southesk 1951 Settlement removed from Kinnaird Castle, Scotland, believed to be the most historically significant group of American Indian art ever to be offered at auction. The sale, which was expected to bring between $2.9 and $4.2 million, totaled $4,521,402. It was 87.6 percent sold by value and 82.2 percent sold by lot.
David Roche, specialist, said, “The sale reflected the enormous range of artistic traditions of Native Americans. The competition demonstrated the mounting appreciation and demand for quality works of art in the field, and we are pleased that many of these items were purchased, and will be carefully preserved, by institutions.”
Of the 39 lots from the Southesk collection, 29 were purchased by the Royal Alberta Museum in Canada, including an early Upper Missouri River beaded hide dress, which sold for $497,600, and an early pair of Upper Missouri River beaded hide leggings, probably Blackfoot, which brought $93,000.
Following the 1988 landmark sale of the collection of Mr andMrs Fred Boschan, which featured Southwestern and Northeasternworks of art, Sotheby’s again presented works from theircollection, this time with a focus on Northwest Coast art, andhighlights included a Coast Tsimshian polychromed wood rattle,which brought $296,000; an early Tlingit polychromed wood Shaman’sceremonial dance rattle, $150,000; and a Northwest Coast bentwoodfood bowl, Tlingit or Coast Tsimshian, which sold for $102,000 to aCanadian dealer.
Rounding out the sale’s top ten lots were an early Salish sheep horn rattle, $102,000; a Heiltsuk (Bella Bella) polychromed wood speaker’s staff, $90,000; a Haida twined and painted basketry hat, $84,000; and a Great Lakes wood doll cradle, possibly Eastern Cree, $81,000.
Prices reported include buyer’s premium, which is 20 percent of the hammer price on the first $200,000, and 12 percent thereafter.
For information, 212-606-7000 or www.sothebys.com.
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