American Indian Art

Now Seeking Consignments
for our
September 23rd American Indian and Western Art Auction -
Click to Consign


Results:
April 4, 2016 American Indian and Western Art Auction

Upcoming:
May 12 - 23, 2016 Timed Online American Indian and Western Art Auction

As a leader in the field of American Indian Art, Cowan's has sold over $21 million of Native objects. Auctions are held twice a year focusing on North American cultural and ethnographic material. Photography of the American Indian and works of art portraying a romantic West by artists such as Henry Farny, Charles Russell, and Joseph Sharp, create a well-rounded auction that attracts aggressive bidding by American Indian and Western art collectors.

Department Director

Danica M. Farnand
Specialist

Contact Information
Contact Danica at 513.871.1670 (ext. 215) or email indianart@cowans.com

Danica graduated from John Carroll University with a BA in Art History and continued on to earn her MA in Anthropology at the University of Cincinnati. After 12 years at Cowan's, she has developed the American Indian Art division, with two major auctions a year and sales totaling over $20 million since the department's inception.

Susan Labry Meyn
Susan is Cowan's consulting ethnologist. Author of Farny Paints the Far West and co-author of Rookwood and the American Indian, she holds a PhD in American Indian History and Anthropology.

***Press Release***

Major Collections Drive Interest and Strong Bidding in Cowan's September 25th American Indian and Western Art Auction

 CINCINNATI, Ohio – High interest from bidders demonstrated that exceptional collections were brought to market in Cowan's September 25th American Indian and Western Art Auction. The day was a success with sales totals reaching $911,000, an 87[%] sell-through rate and a lot average of $2,300.

 Pre-auction estimates were trounced all day at the auction. A large crowd on the floor coupled with active phone bidding throughout the entirety of the sale made for a veritable feeding frenzy for many of the lots. The highest selling lot in the auction was anExtraordinary Cheyenne Beaded Hide Tobacco Bag from the Glen-Isle Resort in Bailey, Colorado. After nearly five minutes of back and forth bidding between the floor and the phones, the bag eventually sold to a phone bidder for $72,000 over its $8,000/10,000 estimate.

 "The selection of items in this sale, as deep in quality as in variety, demonstrated that the market for American Indian art remains highly competitive at the upper levels," notes Danica Farnand, Director, American Indian Art. "The collections from Minnesota, the Hopewell Museum and then Glen Isle Resort lead the way throughout the auction, with over 30[%] of items selling for above the high estimate. I was thrilled with the results of the sale, and look forward to the next one!"

 The selection of items also included fresh-to-the-market Sioux, Northern Plains and Kiowa material. A Sioux Beaded Unborn Fawn Bag sold for $30,000 – thirty times its pre-auction estimate. A Northern Plains Beaded and Quilled Buffalo Hide Bowcase and Quiver with Bow and Arrows brought $27,600, and a Kiowa Beaded Hide Strike-a-Light Bag realized $12,000.

 Textiles played a noteworthy role in the auction. One of the highlights was a Sandpainting weaving by Manuelito (Navajo, 1893-1987). The weaving dates to about 1935 to 1940 and depicts, among others, Talking God and Black Calling God. Manuelito was the niece of Hosteen Klah, a Navajo medicine man and weaver, who encouraged her to weave sandpaintings and taught her the correct imagery. This example was de-accessioned from the Hopewell Museum in Hopewell, N.J., having previously been donated to that institution by Dr. David Blackwell Hill (1887-1979), who collected American Indian art long before it became fashionable. The weaving sold for $27,060. Additional highlights in the textiles portion of the auction included a Navajo Two Grey Hills Weaving that sold for $16,800 and a Navajo Third Phase Woman's Chief Blanket realized $15,600.

 Important tomahawks also hit the auction block in the September 25th sale. A Plains Pipe Tomahawk estimated to bring between $6,000/8,000 sold for $11,685, a Sioux Pipe Tomahawk realized $11,400, and a Western Plains Pipe Tomahawk from the Glen Isle Resort quadrupled its estimate of $2,000/4,000 and realized $9,600.

 Pottery and basketry exceeded expectations in the auction, generating strong interest from Internet and phone bidders. A frenzy of bidding surrounded a lot of California Mission Baskets depicting Reptiles and Insects. De-accessioned from the Hopewell Museum, the pair of baskets brought $9,000. An Apache Figural Basketry Olla realized $9,225, an Acoma Pottery Olla sold for $8,400, a Nampeyo of Hano Attributed Polychome  Polacca Pottery Bowl realized $5,400, and a Californian Open-weave Basket sold for $4,500.

 Beadwork was among the higher selling lots of the day in the sale. A Sioux Beaded and Quilled Hide Cradle Collected by Medal of Honor Recipient James M. Burns sold for $18,000. James Madison Burns enlisted in the West Virginia infantry in 1861. On May 15, 1864, at the Battle of New Market, Virginia while under heavy fire from the enemy he voluntarily assisted a wounded comrade from the field of battle, earning him the Congressional Medal of Honor. A Cheyenne Beaded Hide Tobacco Bag from the Collection of Monroe Killy of Minnesota sold for $6,000, and a Plains Beaded and Quilled Buffalo Hide Society Bag realized $5,400.

 The diversity of the auction continued with artwork and photography. A painting by John Nieto, titled "War Dance," sold for $9,000, a Karl Bodmer Hand-Colored Aquatint, titled "Bison Dance of the Mandan Indians in front of their medicine lodge in Mih-Tutta-Hankush," realized $6,600, an Oil on Canvas by Lajos Markos sold for $6,000, and a Silver Gelatin Photograph by Roland Reed, titled "Up the Cutback," sold for $2,640.

 The market for American Indian art remains highly competitive at the upper levels. Cowan's is now seeking exceptional consignments for our 2016 American Indian and Western Art Auctions. For more information, phone Cowan's Auctions at (513) 871-1670 or visit Cowans.com.

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Navajo Shiprock <i>Yei</i> Weaving
Lot # 374 - Navajo Shiprock Yei Weaving
Hand-spun wool woven using colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, black, and gray; two detailed Yei figures are separated by a corn plant and surrounded by a Rainbow Guardian, 27 in. x 38 in.
ca 1930
> Item Details
Filipino Ifugao Figural Ladle and Spoon
Lot # 455 - Filipino Ifugao Figural Ladle and Spoon
lot of 2, including a ladle with handle formed into a man, length 12 in.; and a simply designed spoon with phallic handle, length 8.25 in.
20th century
> Item Details
Northeastern Beaded Figural Wall Pocket
Lot # 122 - Northeastern Beaded Figural Wall Pocket
thread-sewn on brown felt using a variety of glass bead colors; central image of a frog with outlined foliate devices surrounding it, length 9.25 in. x width 5.25 in.
first quarter 20th century
> Item Details
[Southwest] </i>Bureau of American Ethnology, Eleventh Annual Report</i> From the Library of Richard Pohrt Jr.
Lot # 410 - [Southwest] Bureau of American Ethnology, Eleventh Annual Report From the Library of Richard Pohrt Jr.
Bureau of Ethnology, Eleventh Annual Report. Smithsonian Institution: Washington, D.C. 1894 (hardcover)
  • Stevenson, Matilda Coxe. "The Sia"
  • Turner, Lucien. "Ethnology of the Ungara District
  • Dorsey, J. Owen. "A Study of Siouan Cults"
> Item Details
Zuni Silver and Turquoise Disk Necklace
Lot # 106 - Zuni Silver and Turquoise Disk Necklace
each large bead set with 30 dots of turquoise, length 27.5 in.
mid-20th century
> Item Details
Steven Mopope (Kiowa, 1898-1974) Watercolor
Lot # 301 - Steven Mopope (Kiowa, 1898-1974) Watercolor
Friendship
titled on back and signed lower right
(sight) 5.5 x 8 in.; (framed) 10.5 x 12.5 in.
mid-20th century
> Item Details
Northern Plains Beaded and Quilled Token Pouch
Lot # 122 - Northern Plains Beaded and Quilled Token Pouch
sinew-sewn with front of pouch quilled and closing flap beaded in cobalt and white; reverse coated in cobalt pigment; quill-wrapped drops terminating in tin cones and blue wool hang at corners, length 3.75 in. x width 2.5 in.
fourth quarter 19th century
> Item Details
[Photography] Books on the Photography of Native Americans, From the Library of Richard Pohrt Jr.
Lot # 466 - [Photography] Books on the Photography of Native Americans, From the Library of Richard Pohrt Jr.
lot of 7, including:

Doll, Don and John Alinder. Crying for a Vision: A Rosebud Sioux Trilogy, 1886-1976. Morgan and Morgan" Dobbs Ferry, New York. 1976.

Goetzmann, William. The First Americans: Photographs from the Library of Congress. Starwood Publishing, Inc. Washington, D.C. 1991. (hardcover)

Miller, David and Joe Hays. In Citizen's Garb: The Lenny and Sawyers Images of Native Americans on the Southern Plains, 1889-1891.  Museum of the Great Plains: Lawton. nd.

Oregon Historical Society. Union Guide to Photograph Collections in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Historical Society: Portland. 1978.

Penny, David, Lisa Roberts, and Nancy Barr. Images of Identity: American Indians in Photographs. The Detroit Institute of Arts: Detroit. 1994.

Silversides, Brock. The Face Pullers: Photographic Native Canadians 1871-1939. Fifth House Publishers, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. 1994. (hardcover)

Shields, Kenneth. Images of America: Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston. 1998.
> Item Details
Sioux Beaded Hide Umbilical Fetish
Lot # 132 - Sioux Beaded Hide Umbilical Fetish
thread and sinew-sewn; in the form of a turtle and beaded in an array of colors including red white-heart, greasy yellow, cobalt, and white; tin cones filled with red feathers hang from legs and tail; hide loop strung through mouth for attachment, length 8 in.
ca 1900
> Item Details
Tlingit Figural Halibut Hook
Lot # 23 - Tlingit Figural Halibut Hook
composed of two pieces; one side hollowed and carved with the face of a man situated on the underside of a fish; opposite with iron hook wrapped with cotton twine, length 11.5 in. x width 5 in.
late 19th century
> Item Details
Navajo Red Mesa Weaving / Rug from a Minnesota Collection
Lot # 273 - Navajo Red Mesa Weaving / Rug from a Minnesota Collection
woven using colors of yellow, orange, blue, red, black, cream, and brown; stacked, elongated diamonds are outlined with thin colorful lines, 79 x 47.5 in.
second quarter 20th century 
> Item Details
Zuni Inlay Cross Necklace with Twisted Silver Wire Bracelets
Lot # 160 - Zuni Inlay Cross Necklace with Twisted Silver Wire Bracelets
lot of 3, includes a silver cross inlaid with spiny oyster, turquoise, jet, and shell; link chain, length 20 in.; cross 4 in.; PLUS two twisted silver wire bracelets, interior circumference 4.75 in., gap 1.25 in.
mid- third quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Karl Bodmer and Other Artists in the Early West
Lot # 536 - Karl Bodmer and Other Artists in the Early West
Lot of 4. Includes:

American Heritage: The Magazine of History. Vol. XIV, No. 3, April 1963. 4to, illustrated boards. Article on Bodmer.

Lang, Hans. Indianer Waren Meine Freunde. Leben und Werk Karl Bodmer, 1809-1893. (loosely, "My Good Friends, the Indians") Bern: Hallwag, 1976. In German. 4to, ivory boards w/dj and shipping (?) box, signed by author on tp, 192pp. Box similar to slipcase with illustrations of artifacts and clothing, in lightweight card (about the weight of a cereal box). Spine of box damaged, slight damage to dj, especially head and foot of spine.

Freedman, Russell. An Indian Winter. New York: Holiday House, 1992. Obl. 4to, blue paper-covered boards with maroon cloth spine, dj currently in mylar, 88pp.

Yearbook of German-American Studies. Vol. 31, 1996. Includes article by Christopher Wickham, "Old and Water: The Development of the Portrayal of Native Americans by Nineteenth-Century German Painters." Pp. 63-106.
> Item Details
Abraham Anghik Ruben (Inuit, b. 1951) Stone Sculpture
Ray Tracey (Navajo, 20th century) Sterling Silver Inlaid Pendants and Ring
Lot # 134 - Ray Tracey (Navajo, 20th century) Sterling Silver Inlaid Pendants and Ring
lot of 3.  Includes a signed triangular-shaped pendant inlaid with jet, turquoise, and coral, length 2.5 in.; PLUS a similar pendant, but with an oval shape, width 1.5 in.; AND a ring set with coral and mother-of-pearl, size 7.
ca late 20th century
> Item Details
Alaskan Eskimo Whale Bone Sculptures
Lot # - Alaskan Eskimo Whale Bone Sculptures
lot of 2, includes a walrus by Lewis Iyakitan, height 5.25 in. x length 8.5 in.; AND an egret; base is signed, height 8 in.
second half 20th century
> Item Details
Edward Curtis <i>North American Indians</i> Portfolio Volume 1: The Apache. The Jicarillas. The Navaho.
Lot # 39 - Edward Curtis North American Indians Portfolio Volume 1: The Apache. The Jicarillas. The Navaho.
33 of 39 large-format photogravures on Van Gelder paper prefaced with printed plate list; Cambridge, Massachusetts: 1907; plates loose in morocco portfolio with flaps and ties, portfolio size 23 in. x 19.25 in.
> Item Details
Navajo Regional Weaving / Rug
Lot # 140 - Navajo Regional Weaving / Rug
hand-spun wool designed with elongated diamonds surrounded by waterbugs, squash blossoms, and diamond elements; hooked border, 66 x 37.5 in.
mid-20th century
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Plains <i>Jukes Colson</i> Bone Handled Dag Knife From the Collection of Marvin L. Lince, Oregon
Lot # 290 - Plains Jukes Colson Bone Handled Dag Knife From the Collection of Marvin L. Lince, Oregon
well-worn bone handle affixed to tang with five brass rivets; handle decorated with dots, some filled with red pigment, and crossed lines; heavily filed blade stamped Jukes Coulson, total length 11 in., length of blade 5.5 in.
19th century

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Cheyenne Society Quirt
Lot # 66 - Cheyenne Society Quirt

painted in red and blue pigment and decorated along serrated and scalloped edges with various sized brass tacks; carved into one side of quirt are two pipe bowls; leather thong looped through one end of quirt, opposite with hide wrist strap, length 19 in.
19th century

A similar example of a Cheyenne quirt dated 1840 can be found in Richard Conn's Circles of the World. (1982: Fig. 56).  Pictured in Mythos Wild West: The Bründl Collection (1999:110, no. 416).  

> Item Details