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
Cheyenne Beaded Hide Moccasins
Lot # 509 - Cheyenne Beaded Hide Moccasins
sinew-sewn and beaded using colors of translucent green, pea green, pumpkin, white, and periwinkle, length 8.5 in.
ca 1900
> Item Details
Sioux Beaded Hide Moccasins
Lot # 252 - Sioux Beaded Hide Moccasins
Sinew-sewn using bead colors of red white-heart, dark blue, white, and translucent green; trifurcated toungue finished with tin cones and remnants of horsehair; hint of yellow pigment on hide, length 11 in.
fourth quarter 19th century
> Item Details
Pomo Gift Basket Deaccessioned From the Hopewell Museum, Hopewell, New Jersey
Lot # 29 - Pomo Gift Basket Deaccessioned From the Hopewell Museum, Hopewell, New Jersey
coiled of juncus with entire exterior covered with feathers, diameter 8.25 in. x height 3.5 in.
early 20th century 

Dr. David Blackwell Hill (1887-1979)

Dr. Hill purchased American Indian art long before it was fashionable, in fact long before there were books written to educate the public about the beautiful objects America’s first peoples made. We can only speculate about how Dr. Hill knew to purchase some of the best of the best. Perhaps, as a Manhattanite, he saw the successful 1931 Exposition of Indian Tribal Arts at the Grand Central Art Gallery in New York City. This was the first exhibit designed specifically to show Indian cultural material (pottery, weavings, beadwork, etc.) as “Art.” Amelia Elizabeth White was one of the organizers of this watershed exposition and, at that time, already owned an Indian shop, Ishauu, later named the Gallery of American Indian Art, on Madison Avenue. One wonders if some of the items might have come from her store.

Hill was born in Hopewell, Mercer Co., NJ. After graduating from medical school in 1910, he married Janet A. Hurd and worked as a physician in New York City until 1952. The Hills resided on the Upper West Side, later moving to the Upper East Side. Upon Hill’s retirement the couple moved to Altadena, CA, where Hill died on May 9, 1979. Hill gave his American Indian art collection to the Hopewell Museum in 1966.
> Item Details
Nampeyo of Hano (Hopi, 1860-1942) Attributed Polychrome Polacca Pottery Bowl
Lot # 325 - Nampeyo of Hano (Hopi, 1860-1942) Attributed Polychrome Polacca Pottery Bowl
interior painted in red, black, and blue; with hanging lug; height 3.25 in. x diameter 8.75 in.
late 19th century

This lot is accompanied by an authentication by Edwin L. Wade, Ph.D., Sedona, Arizona.

Technically this bowl is a classic Polacca C common to the last quarter of the 19th century. The slip is a heavy stone-polished kaolin slip that has scabbed during firing. The composition and layout, however, reflect the earliest adaptation of reviving prehistoric motifs into then-contemporary Hopi ceramics. The designator of Sikyatki Revival has been wrongly applied to such vessels as a lumping category, when in fact a number of different prehistoric and historic traditions are melded in this composition.
> Item Details
Hopi Katsinas
Lot # 133 - Hopi Katsinas
lot of 4, including an Antelope Katsina, Sio Katsina, Left-handed Katsina, and a Polik Mana, sizes range from 8 in. to 10.5 in.
late 20th century
> Item Details
Navajo Western Reservation Weavings
Lot # 243 - Navajo Western Reservation Weavings
lot of 2, 4.25 x 32 in.; AND 33 x 16 in.
second quarter - mid-20th century
> Item Details
Helen Cordero (Cochiti, 1915-1994) Mother Turtle Pottery Figure From the Collection of John O. Behnken, Georgia
Lot # 110 - Helen Cordero (Cochiti, 1915-1994) Mother Turtle Pottery Figure From the Collection of John O. Behnken, Georgia
with three children riding the back of the turtle; signed on base, height 6.75 in. 
third quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Santo Domingo and Acoma Pottery
Lot # 144 - Santo Domingo and Acoma Pottery
lot of 2, includes an Acoma bowl with bold linear decorations, height 3.75 in. x diameter 7 in.; AND a Santo Domingo planter, with two handles and opposite sides pierced for rope; floral design, height 5.25 in. x diameter 7.75 in.
second quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Painted Cabinet from the Shiprock Trading Post
Lot # 121 - Painted Cabinet from the Shiprock Trading Post
two-sided cabinet painted with Yei figures on doors and side walls; piece has two shelves, drawer, and magazine holder, height 30 in. x width 34 in. x depth 13 in. mid-20th century
> Item Details
Navajo <i>Yei</i> Weaving / Rug from the Historic Glen Isle Resort, Bailey, Colorado
Lot # 170 - Navajo Yei Weaving / Rug from the Historic Glen Isle Resort, Bailey, Colorado
hand-spun wool woven using colors of blue, red, cream, gray, and dark brown; three figures separated by vertical bands, 31.5 x 61.5 in.
mid-20th century
> Item Details
Western Plains Pipe Tomahawk From the Collection of Marvin L. Lince, Oregon
Lot # 293 - Western Plains Pipe Tomahawk From the Collection of Marvin L. Lince, Oregon
file-branded haft studded with tack decorations and pierced though for suspension; forged iron blade with heart-shaped piercing and surrounded by engraved dots, length 22 in.; head length 10 in. x blade width 5 in.
19th century
> Item Details
[History] Nineteenth Century Accounts of the Frontier,  From the Library of Richard Pohrt Jr.
Lot # 449 - [History] Nineteenth Century Accounts of the Frontier, From the Library of Richard Pohrt Jr.
lot of 5, includes:

Danker, Donald (ed.) Man of the Plains: Recollections of Luther North, 1856-1882. University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln. 1961.

Heilbron, Bertha (ed.) With Pen and Pencil on the Frontier in 1851: The Diary and Sketches of Frank Blackwater Mayer. Minnesota Historical Society Press: St. Paul. 1986.

Horgan, Paul. Josiah Gregg and His Vision of the Early West. Farrar Straus Giroux: New York. 1972. (hardcover)

Horn, Tom. The Life of Tom Horn, Government Scout and Interpreter: Written by Himself. Triton Press: Provo, Utah. 1988. (Reprint of 1904 edition)

Porter, Joseph. Paper Medicine Man: John Gregory Bourke and His American West. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman. 1986. 
> Item Details
Navajo Silver and Turquoise Cuff
Lot # 42 - Navajo Silver and Turquoise Cuff
with large stone held in place by an undulating silver snake, inside length 5.4 in., width 2.6 in., gap 1.25 in.
ca 1950
> Item Details
Metal Arrow Points and Stone Pipe Bowl From the Eiteljorg Museum
Lot # 327 - Metal Arrow Points and Stone Pipe Bowl From the Eiteljorg Museum
lot of 3 iron points; museum records date points to the trade era 1650-1850, lengths 2.5 in.; pipe bowl length 2.25 in.
> Item Details
Nigeria Benin Carved Wood Table, for Tourist Trade
Lot # 89 - Nigeria Benin Carved Wood Table, for Tourist Trade
wood with carved decorations, including Ife figure at top and Three Wise Monkets to sides
ht. 20.5, wd. 42.75, dp. 19.75 in.
> Item Details
Northwest Coast Carved Horn Spoon
Lot # 21 - Northwest Coast Carved Horn Spoon
delicately carved with totemic handle; figures with inset abalone eyes; handle attached to scoop with copper pin, length 8.5 in.
late 19th century
> Item Details
Plains Painted Hide Drum from the Historic Glen Isle Resort, Bailey, Colorado
Lot # 78 - Plains Painted Hide Drum from the Historic Glen Isle Resort, Bailey, Colorado
bentwood frame; hide painted in red and green; repairs sinew-sewn, diameter 10.75 in.
early 20th century
> Item Details
Tlingit Halibut Hook
Lot # 42 - Tlingit Halibut Hook
composed of two pieces; one half deeply carved in the form of a bird; iron hook  reinforced with wood shim is attached using twine wrappings, length 8.25 in. x width 4.5 in..
19th century
> Item Details
Ron Suazo Santa Clara Canteen
Lot # 136 - Ron Suazo Santa Clara Canteen
Black and sienna; with circular sgraffito motifs enhanced with bear paws; red and blue beads offer added interest; signed on base, diameter 3.5 in. x height 4.25 in.
1997
> Item Details
Maria (1887-1980) and Santana (1909-2002) Martinez San Ildefonso Blackware Pottery Bowl from the Historic Glen-Isle Resort, Bailey, Colorado
Lot # 310 - Maria (1887-1980) and Santana (1909-2002) Martinez San Ildefonso Blackware Pottery Bowl from the Historic Glen-Isle Resort, Bailey, Colorado
"elegantly simple, unadorned form; signed on base, diameter 6 in.
1943-1954 

Glen-Isle Resort Collection

The Glen-Isle on the Platte River, just 45 miles from Denver, near Bailey, CO, was built in 1901 as a mountain retreat for Colorado vacationers. Members of the same family have owned and operated the Adirondack-inspired lodge and its surrounding rustic cabins for 90 years. Today the site is on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1923 Arthur and Sarah Baldwin purchased Glen-Isle and nearly thirty years later, in 1952, their granddaughter, Barbara, and her husband, Gordon Tripp, became the owners. Even as children, each had a love of and interest in Native American culture.

After their marriage and throughout their lives, Barbara and Gordon shared their interest as they continued to learn about Native Americans. Their collection began in the late 1950s when they and their children were vacationing in the Four Corners area. From that point forward all future family trips headed east to the Four Corners and included time to enjoy Indian culture while acquiring artifacts. Soon, their collection attracted the attention of guests at the Lodge and the Tripps discovered how much they enjoyed displaying their collection and sharing their enthusiasm for Native American culture with the guests. Thus the collection and the stories became an important part of their lives.

After many years of devoted work, the family has decided to sell their 160 acre facility and to part with the Resort’s Indian collection. "
> Item Details