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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Plains Beaded Hide Pipe Tamper Case
Lot # 384 - Plains Beaded Hide Pipe Tamper Case
thread and sinew-sewn; with triangular drop beaded in dark blue, white, pea green, and red white-heart; edged and backed with cotton; hide strip with blue pigment is attached to top of drop, overall length 37 in., length of triangular portion with fringe 14.5 in. 
fourth quarter 19th century
> Item Details
Irene Jones (Dine, 20th century) Navajo Wide Ruins Weaving / Rug
Lot # - Irene Jones (Dine, 20th century) Navajo Wide Ruins Weaving / Rug
hand-spun wool finely woven using a variety of colors; borderless design of bands of thin lines and hooked elements, 52 x 38 in.
third quarter 20th century

This piece was commissioned by consignor.
> Item Details
Pueblo Heishi and Turquoise Nugget Necklaces
Lot # 341 - Pueblo Heishi and Turquoise Nugget Necklaces
lot of 2. Necklaces strung on brown heishi with small turquoise nuggets, lengths 27 in. and 29 in.
fourth quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Navajo Transitional Weaving / Rug
Lot # 471 - Navajo Transitional Weaving / Rug
softly woven in colors of red, black, and cream; designed with bold zigzagging lines and whirling logs, 68 x 50 in.
ca 1900
> Item Details
Cheyenne Beaded Hide Child's Moccasins
Lot # 309 - Cheyenne Beaded Hide Child's Moccasins
sinew-sewn and beaded in small greasy yellow, red white-heart, light and dark blue, and bottle green; hide coated in yellow pigment, length 7 in.
late 19th century
> Item Details
Northern Plains Horsetooth Necklace
Lot # 517 - Northern Plains Horsetooth Necklace
100 teeth coated with red pigment are pierced through at root and strung with a thin hide thong, separated with cane beads, length 27 in.
19th century
> Item Details
Navajo Silver Squash Blossom Necklace
Lot # 605 - Navajo Silver Squash Blossom Necklace
composed of a double row of silver beads with trumpet-shaped blossoms; naja made of triangular and twisted wire bands, length 32 in., naja 3 in.
third quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Greenland Eskimo Tupilaks
Lot # 8 - Greenland Eskimo Tupilaks
lot of 2, both with hunched backs, attenuated arms and baleen eyes; larger tupilak with one foot transformed into a fin; both have fin hands, mounted on wooden bases, total heights 5.25 in. and 4.5 in.
first quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Eskimo Drift Wood Scraper
Lot # 3 - Eskimo Drift Wood Scraper
driftwood pole with bone scraper affixed to end with iron nail, total length 71.5 in.
19th century
> Item Details
Navajo Regional Weaving / Rug
Lot # 263 - Navajo Regional Weaving / Rug
hand-spun wool designed with a finely serrated central X, 62 x 32 in.
mid-20th century
> Item Details
Navajo Regional Weaving / Rug From the Historic Glen Isle Resort
Lot # 259 - Navajo Regional Weaving / Rug From the Historic Glen Isle Resort
hand-spun wool woven using colors of red, black, cream, and gray; single black band frames the central design of stacked diamonds, 64 x 41.25 in.
second quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Navajo Twisted Silver Wire Bracelets
Lot # 333 - Navajo Twisted Silver Wire Bracelets
lot of 5, each marked sterling and each with inside length 5.4 in. x gap 1.2 in. Widths vary according to the number of wires incorporated into bracelet. One bracelet with three wires, PLUS another two with two wire, AND the last two with one wire each.
fourth quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Northern Plains Child's Beaded Hide Moccasins
Lot # 357 - Northern Plains Child's Beaded Hide Moccasins
sinew-sewn and beaded using colors of light blue, white, greasy yellow and dark blue; forked tongues and pinked high cuffs, length 5.5 in.
late 19th century
> Item Details
Northern Plains Children's Items
Lot # 68 - Northern Plains Children's Items
lot of 4, including a single Sioux child's moccasin sinew-sewn elk and beaded in colors of pink, translucent green, red white-heart, dark blue, and white, length 6 in.; PLUS another single Sioux child's moccasin sinew-sewn and beaded in colors of greasy yellow, translucent green, light blue, and red white-heart, length 6 in.; PLUS a child's buffalo hide knife sheath sinew-sewn using colors of white, dark blue, red white-heart, and greasy yellow, length 5.5 in.; AND a lizard navel fetish also sinew-sewn and beaded in colors of eggplant, white, and amber, length 7.5 in.
fourth quarter 19th century - early 20th century
> Item Details
Zuni Cluster Turquoise Bracelet, Pin, and Ring
Lot # 130 - Zuni Cluster Turquoise Bracelet, Pin, and Ring
lot of 3.  Includes a bracelet with three medallions filled with clusters of hand-cut turquoise, interior circumference 6 in. x width 1.6 in. x opening .9 in.; PLUS a pin, diameter 1.5 in.; AND a ring, size 5.25.
mid-20th century 
> Item Details
Paul Surber (American, b. 1942) Watercolor
Lot # 338 - Paul Surber (American, b. 1942) Watercolor
Winter Encampment Scene
signed  and dated lower right
(sight) 4.25 x 7.25 in. 
1982
> Item Details
Haida Painted Cedar Bark Hat
Lot # 39 - Haida Painted Cedar Bark Hat
woven of cedar bark with a frog painted in red and black; a five-pointed star with a dentalium shell and a single blue bead decorates top, height 5.5 in. x diameter 13.5 in.
ca 1900
> Item Details
Pima Basket
Lot # 348 - Pima Basket
designed with meandering pattern, height 3.75 in. x diameter 12.5 in.
ca 1900
> Item Details
Sioux Beaded Hide Tobacco Bag from the William H. Jensen Collection (ca 1887-1979), Minnesota
Lot # - Sioux Beaded Hide Tobacco Bag from the William H. Jensen Collection (ca 1887-1979), Minnesota
With tag noting marker: Mrs. Loves War, Carmon Ball, N.D.; Agalalla Sioux.

 Full description coming soon.



William H. Jensen (ca 1887-1979)

In 1933, while laying gravel for his driveway, W. H. Jensen discovered bone fragments and a stone tool, prompting him to investigate further.  After several hours of sifting through the gravel, he found more bone fragments belonging to a man dated roughly 9,000 years old, a date confirmed by the lithic flaked tools discovered at the site.  The Browns Valley Man was a Paleo-Indian, considered to be of the first people to arrive in the Americas from Asia (though debate on their exact routes and dates is ongoing).  During that same time it is believed that Browns Valley was a Paleo-Indian burial site, one of few in the country and the only one in Minnesota. In 1934, it was investigated by A. E. Jenks, University of Minnesota.

Jensen was born in 1887 on an island in Lake Traverse (Jensen's island) and was hunting for arrowheads in the family garden by age 5.  He began his vocation as a teacher to the Sisseton Indians of South Dakota which lead to many other business adventures.  Throughout his careers, he was known in the community for buying ethnographic material his entire life.

> Item Details
Hopi Ogre Katsina Doll
Lot # 294 - Hopi Ogre Katsina Doll
with pop eyes, horns, snout, and long hair, height 10.25 in.
second quarter 20th century
> Item Details