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.

don't miss

an opportunity to bid. You can't win if you're not in.

sign up to bid

what's it worth?

ask the experts

sell your item

start selling
Leagus Ahiyite (Zuni, 20th century) Inlaid Owl Necklace
Lot # 267 - Leagus Ahiyite (Zuni, 20th century) Inlaid Owl Necklace
with turquoise, jet, coral, and shell.  Pendant hangs from a hand-made chain, length w/o dangles, 21 in.
ca 1970
> Item Details
Navajo Fred Harvey-Style Silver and Turquoise Bracelets, Earrings, and Pin
Lot # - Navajo Fred Harvey-Style Silver and Turquoise Bracelets, Earrings, and Pin
lot of 10, includes 3 pairs of screw-back earrings, one silver pair, diameter .5 in., 2 pairs with small turquoises, each length .75 in.; PLUS a bar pin with turquoise and arrow stamps, length 2.25 in.; PLUS a bracelet with two stones (one missing), inside length 4.8 in. x width .6 in. x opening 1.1 in.; PLUS bracelet with large turquoise and snake stamps, inside length 5.6 in. x width 1.8 in. x opening 1.25 in.; AND bracelet with three turquoises, inside length 4.8 in. x width 1.25 in.
ca mid 20th century 
> Item Details
Navajo Storm Pattern Weaving / Rug
Lot # 245 - Navajo Storm Pattern Weaving / Rug
woven in gray, cream, dark brown, and red; storm pattern further embellished with feathers; brass trading post tag in corner, 60.5 x 33 in.
second quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Hopi <i>Sowi-ing</i> Deer Katsina
Lot # 140 - Hopi Sowi-ing Deer Katsina
with tree branch antlers; mounted to wooden base, height 13.25 in.
mid-20th century
> Item Details
Joe Ferrara (American, 20th century)
Lot # 528 - Joe Ferrara (American, 20th century)
Sioux Portraits and Still Lifes
tempera on paper
portraits signed l.l. and l.r.
smallest 2.5 x 3.5, largest 9 x 7.25 in.
> Item Details
Lawrence Maho (Hopi, 20th century) </i>Muzribi</i>, Bean Katsina Doll PLUS
Lot # - Lawrence Maho (Hopi, 20th century) Muzribi, Bean Katsina Doll PLUS
lot of 2, includes a Muzribi, Bean Katsina by Lawrence Maho, height 9.75 in.; AND an unsigned Bear Katsina, height 8.25 in.
third quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Mali Bamana Bambara Figural Wooden Doorlock
Lot # 378 - Mali Bamana Bambara Figural Wooden Doorlock
made of two pieces with top carved into a man while the second piece fits into a horizontal groove on reverse of man; doorlocks were used on dwellings, cookhouses, and sanctuaries.  Each lock is named in accordance with its message, a person, or myth, height 17 in. x length 18 in.
ca 1930s
> Item Details
Navajo Mother-of Pearl Squash Blossom Necklace
Lot # 124 - Navajo Mother-of Pearl Squash Blossom Necklace
heavy silver with 18 sets of mother-of-pearl, length 26 in.
> Item Details
Yokut Basket
Lot # 54 - Yokut Basket
decorated with two-toned banding; pedestal base, height 3.5 in. x diameter 5.75 in.
ca 1900
> Item Details
Navajo and Hopi Silver and Turquoise Earrings From Asa Glascock Trading Post, Gallup, New Mexico
Lot # 162 - Navajo and Hopi Silver and Turquoise Earrings From Asa Glascock Trading Post, Gallup, New Mexico
lot of 21 pieces, three pairs of screw-back earrings (two pairs of Hopi overlay discs and one Navajo turquoise nugget pair), diameter of largest 1 in.; PLUS one clip-on pair of Zuni jet inlay, length 2 in.; PLUS a matching jet ring, size 5; PLUS others for pierced ears, a Navajo pair of stamped tubes with blossoms suspended, length 2 in.; a pair of liquid silver, length 2 in.; and a pair of small leaves with coral, length .5 in.; PLUS a pair of nuggets set in shadow box frame, length 1.25 in,; PLUS a pair of Hopi pear shaped hoops with a dangle in center, length 2 in.; AND two pendants one an older cluster turquoise pendant that could double as an earring, length 1.25 in. and the other a Fred Harvey curio style figure with a turquoise, length 1.5 in.
third quarter - fourth quarter 20th century  

Asa Glascock Trading Post

Asa Glascock (1898-1965), a native of Ralls County, Missouri, owned and operated a successful trading post located on North Third Street in Gallup, New Mexico from 1922 to 1957.  He and his wife also managed a post in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for several years during the mid-1950s. 

Prior to becoming a trader, Glascock volunteered for the sheriff, serving as a member of the Gallup town posse when necessary and worked for the trans-continental railway.  During his time with the rail, which ran through the middle of town, Glascock severely injured his right hand.  This prompted his career change and became a trader who spoke fluent Navajo.

Asa’s wife, Margaret Smith Glascock (1924-2002), assisted him with the day-to-day activities typical of any thriving store—ordering supplies, showing merchandise, taking jewelry for pawn, operating the cash register, and keeping financial records.   The post sold Navajo blankets, Pendleton blankets, pawn jewelry, glass beads, groceries, and household goods similar to those found in today’s small hardware stores.  One original item however, surpassed all others: the beaded leather belts.  The Glascocks sold the profitable belts to the National Park Service, as well as to dealers across the country.  

The post had a long counter off to the side, where Czechoslovakian glass beads were sold.  The Zuni purchased the colorful beads by the “whiskey shot glass” and hurried home to loom-bead vibrant strips in the requisite length.  When finished, the beaders returned the strips to the post where Margaret, using her Singer, stitched the strips to commercially made leather belts.  Her sons often helped her with the final phase of lacing white plastic around the edges.  The belt orders dwindled when the Japanese began imitating the belts. 

Glascock sold his post in 1957 and the family returned to a farm in Missouri where they, like the Navajo, kept a herd of sheep.  (David Williamson to Meyn, February 16, 2015, and Mary Tate Engels, ed.,Tales from Wide Ruins, 1996: 192.)



> Item Details
Hand-Colored Photographs of the Martinez Family
Lot # 220 - Hand-Colored Photographs of the Martinez Family
Two photographs featuring members of the Martinez family, including a hand colored photograph of Julian Martinez, and a photograph of Maria and Popovi Da; Largest 13.25 x 7.5 in.
> Item Details
Annie Fields Mojave Beaker and Cup
Lot # 188 - Annie Fields Mojave Beaker and Cup
lot of 2. Pieces attributed to Fields; lot includes a Janus face beaker with sculpted eyes, nose, and cheeks; old collection label on bottom, height 4 in. x diameter 3.5 in.; AND a large coffee mug with swirling pattern, height 3.75 in. x diameter 3.75 in.
mid-20th century
> Item Details
Walter Bone Shirt Attributed, Sioux Pictographic Calf Hide
Lot # 95 - Walter Bone Shirt Attributed, Sioux Pictographic Calf Hide
calf hide painted with a variety of scenes; central image is of a warrior on a wounded horse and an outline of a hand; smaller designs include thunderbird, horse tracks, buffalo tracks, man with rifle, pipe bowl, and arrows, length 21 in.; mounted on cotton, 27 in. x 22 in.
late 19th century

For comparable work of Walter Bone Shirt's mounted warrior on a wounded horse, see Art of the American Indian Frontier The Chandler-Pohrt Collection, Detroit Institute of Arts (1992:292).
> Item Details
Navajo Transitional Weaving / Rug Deaccessioned from a Midwestern Museum
Lot # 165 - Navajo Transitional Weaving / Rug Deaccessioned from a Midwestern Museum
hand-spun wool woven in red, orange, purple, and white, 92 x 42 in.
ca 1900
> Item Details
[Plains] Books on the Warrior Culture, From the Library of Richard Pohrt Jr.
Lot # 428 - [Plains] Books on the Warrior Culture, From the Library of Richard Pohrt Jr.
lot of 9, includes:

Andrist, Ralph. The Long Death: The Last Days of the Plains Indians. The Macmillan Company: New York. 1964. (hardcover)

Denig, Edwin Thompson. Five Indian Tribes of the Upper Missouri. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman. 1977.

Eastman, Charles. Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains. Kessinger Publishing. n.d.

Faulk, Odie. The Geronimo Campaign. Oxford University Press: New York. 1969. (hardcover)

Mishkin, Bernard. Rank and Warfare Among the Plains Indians. University of Washington Press: Seattle. 1940. (hardcover)

Nabakov, Peter. Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrior. Thomas Y. Crowell Company: New York. 1967. (hardcover)

Nye, Wilbur. Plains Indian Raiders. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman. 1968. (hardcover) 

Secoy, Frank. Changing Military Patterns of the Great Plains Indians. University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln. 1992.

Taylor, Colin. The Warriors of the Plains. Arco Publishing Company: New York. 1975. (hardcover)
> Item Details
Pima Baskets, One Polychrome Deaccessioned From the Hopewell Museum, Hopewell, New Jersey
Lot # 130 - Pima Baskets, One Polychrome Deaccessioned From the Hopewell Museum, Hopewell, New Jersey
lot of 3. All coiled of willow over grasses.  One basket with six devil's claw girls wearing skirts, diameter 4 in. x height 2.75 in.; PLUS another with devil's claw and yucca fiber motifs illustrating five baskets of flowers, diameter 9.5 in. x height 7.75 in. AND the last with four simple devil's claw motifs resembling broad ladders, diameter 9 in. x height 4.25 in. early 20th century
> Item Details
Navajo Eastern Reservation Weaving
Lot # 167 - Navajo Eastern Reservation Weaving
hand-spun wool woven in brown, gray, and cream; serrated stacked diamonds fill field, 47.5 in. x 33 in.
mid 20th century
> Item Details
Helen Hardin (Santa Clara, 1943-1984) Acrylic on Board
Lot # 181 - Helen Hardin (Santa Clara, 1943-1984) Acrylic on Board
of a bird
signed and dated lower right
(sight) 5.5 x 7.5 in.; (framed) 7.25 x 9.25 in.
1979
> Item Details
Yupik Hunter's Closed-Crown Walrus Hide Hat
Lot # 5 - Yupik Hunter's Closed-Crown Walrus Hide Hat
constructed of walrus hide and thread-sewn into a conical form; seven baleen strips formed into seal and birds are attached to hat using thin baleen ties; rawhide ties affixed to inside, height 10.75 in. x width 10 in. x length 11.75 in.
second quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Ivan Otterlifter (Cherokee, 1936-1999) Carved Killer Whale
Lot # 15 - Ivan Otterlifter (Cherokee, 1936-1999) Carved Killer Whale
articulated carving with open mouth and hinged fins, painted in black, red, and blue and detailed with mother-of- pearl insets; signed Cyot on tail, length 23 in.
third quarter 20th century
> Item Details