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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Tlingit Whalebone Dagger
Lot # 41 - Tlingit Whalebone Dagger
carved with a face on pommel and beveled blade, length 17.75 in.
late 19th century
> Item Details
Zuni Turquoise Cluster Pin/ Pendant
Lot # 125 - Zuni Turquoise Cluster Pin/ Pendant
designed with intricate openwork and center turquoises arranged in an abstract flower motif.  Pin with scratched on name, Betty, and date, 1957, width 4.75 in.
ca 1957
> Item Details
Navajo Raised Outline Weaving / Rug
Lot # 591 - Navajo Raised Outline Weaving / Rug
woven with four anchor point and a central, elongated, hooked diamond, 48.5 x 30.5 in.
fourth quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Plateau Beaded Hide Gauntlets
Lot # 32 - Plateau Beaded Hide Gauntlets
thread-sewn and beaded in colors of blue, green, and translucent pink, length 12.25 in.
mid-20th century
> Item Details
Apache Beaded Hide Tobacco Pouch
Lot # 337 - Apache Beaded Hide Tobacco Pouch
thread-sewn and beaded on thick hide using large beads in colors of greasy yellow, red white-heart, translucent green, and dark blue; bag finished with beaded fringe and tin cones; reverse has hint of yellow pigment, length 8.5 in. x width 5.5 in.
ca 1870
> Item Details
Alaskan Eskimo Netting Tools, Harpoon Point, and Bird Bola
[American Indian - Northwest Coast] Books on Northwest Coast Ethnographies and Art
Lot # 289 - [American Indian - Northwest Coast] Books on Northwest Coast Ethnographies and Art
lot of 6 books including:

Garfield, Viola E. and Paul Wingert. The Tsimshian Indians and Their Arts. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1979.

Halliday, Jan and Gail Chehak. Native Peoples of the Northwest. Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2000.

Krause, Aurel. The Tlingit Indians: Results of a Trip to the Northwest Coast of America and the Bering Straits. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1979.

McFeat, Tom. ed. Indians of the North Pacific Coast. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1980.

Oberg, Kalervo. The Social Economy of the Tlingit Indians. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1973.

Salisbury, O.M. The Customs and Legends of the Tlingit Indians of Alaska. New York: Bonanza Books, 1962.
> Item Details
<i>August Morning</i> photograph by E.W. Merrill
Lot # 20 - August Morning photograph by E.W. Merrill
Elbridge Warren Merrill (American, 1868-1929), early 20th century.  Hand-tinted photograph, signed in white paint l.l., titled on verso; framed 15.75  x  19.5 in.

Merrill, a newspaper photographer from Boston, Massachusetts, settled in Alaska after the 1897 Klondike gold rush.  In Alaska his photographs began to focus on the tribes of the Northwest Coast, especially the Tlingit Indians, and the natural beauty of the surrounding area. From 1919-1922 Merrill served as the official custodian what would become the Sitka National Park.  Today his photographs are valued not only for their historical importance, but also for their artistry. 
> Item Details
Lucy Lewis (Acoma, 1898-1992) Jar
Lot # 80 - Lucy Lewis (Acoma, 1898-1992) Jar
decorated with an undulating rainbow band filled with parrots and flowers; signed on base, height 6.5 in. x diameter 8.75 in.
third quarter 20th century 
> Item Details
Hopi <i>Hemis</i> Katsinas and Crow Mother
Lot # 46 - Hopi Hemis Katsinas and Crow Mother
lot of 4, sizes range from 14 in. to 18 in.
mid-late 20th century
> Item Details
Group of Navajo Pins and Rings
Lot # 55 - Group of Navajo Pins and Rings
Lot of 6, four pieces signed. Includes an arrow pin with stamping and turquoises, length 2.8 in.; PLUS a circle pin/pendant with three turquoises, diameter 2.25 in.; PLUS a cross with one turquoise, height 2.75 in.; PLUS a large cluster pin/pendant with 49 turquoise stones, diameter 2.8 in.; PLUS a ring with one stone, size 5.75; AND a split shank bracelet with one stone, inside circumference 6.25 in.
fourth quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Navajo Bolo with Handmade Tips
Lot # 507 - Navajo Bolo with Handmade Tips
That complement the Greek key motif on the bolo. Large, oval jet stone accents bold image, length 3.5 in. Bolo signed with a large M nestled in additional stamping on rear of bolo.
fourth quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Navajo Western Reservation Weaving / Rug
Lot # 256 - Navajo Western Reservation Weaving / Rug
hand-spun wool woven in colors of red, cream, and black; twill center with a band of stepped diamonds at ends, 60.5 x 36 in.
second quarter 20th century
> Item Details
<i>Diomede Island Eskimo</i> by Ray Swanson (1937-2004),
Lot # 311 - Diomede Island Eskimo by Ray Swanson (1937-2004),
oil on board, signed in l.r.; contains plaque; titled on verso; 20" x 16".
> Item Details
Navajo Western Reservation Runner
Lot # 150 - Navajo Western Reservation Runner
hand-spun wool woven using colors of red, cream, black, and brown; central serrated diamond pattern, 102 in. x 48 in.
first quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Martha Appleleaf San Ildefonso Green on Black Bowl
Lot # 70 - Martha Appleleaf San Ildefonso Green on Black Bowl
with a band of feathers and geometrics along shoulder; lower body further decorated with tadpoles, crosses, and lightning; signed on base, height 5.5 in. x diameter 6.75 in.
fourth quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Hopi All Silver Overlay Cuffs
Lot # 62 - Hopi All Silver Overlay Cuffs
lot of 2.  One with sun hallmark for Hopi Silvercraft Guild and cloud hallmark for Victor Coochwytewa.  Bracelet with curved ovals illustrating different Hopi designs, inside length 5.2 in. x width 1.5 in. x gap .8 in.; AND a cuff with Kokopelli marching across top, inside length 5.75 in,. x width 1.5 in. x gap .9 in.
ca 1970s


  
> Item Details
Collection of Navajo Throws and Samplers / Rugs
Lot # - Collection of Navajo Throws and Samplers / Rugs
lot of 8, grouping with assorted geometric designs, largest 40 x 21 in.; smallest 17 x 18 in.
first half 20th century
> Item Details
Karl Bodmer (Swiss, 1809-1893) Hand-Colored Aquatint
Lot # 198 - Karl Bodmer (Swiss, 1809-1893) Hand-Colored Aquatint
Bison Dance of the Mandan Indians in front of their medicine lodge in Mih-Tutta-Hankush
tab 18, with Bodmer's blindstamp, published by Ackermann & Co. 90 Strand.
15.5 x 21.5 in. (sight), in museum frame 26 x 32 in.
> Item Details
Acoma Pottery Jar
Lot # 181 - Acoma Pottery Jar
height 6.75 in.
second quarter 20th century
> Item Details