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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Sally Rice Paiute Basket
Lot # 43 - Sally Rice Paiute Basket
Finely woven with flared shoulder and decorated with a nested triangular motif; old tag with manuscript description on one side: Tribe - Piute[sic] Home - Carson City Nevada; Made by Sally Rice, verso with Mr J.L. Johnson, height 4.5 in. x diameter 8 in.
first quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Pima Baskets
Lot # 58 - Pima Baskets
lot of 2, both designed with meandering line pattern, height 5 in. x diameter 13.75 in.; AND height 3.25 in. x diameter 15.75 in.
second quarter - mid-20th century
> Item Details
Hopi Maidens and Manas
Lot # 7 - Hopi Maidens and Manas
lot of 3, including two Polik Manas making piki bread, one carved by Bill Quotskuyva (1941), AND two maidens contained in a box, heights 8 in. to 15.25 in.
second half 20th century
> Item Details
[Photography] Books on Photographers of the West, From the Library of Richard Pohrt Jr.
Lot # 467 - [Photography] Books on Photographers of the West, From the Library of Richard Pohrt Jr.
lot of 6, including:

Brown, Mark H. and W.R. Felton. The Frontier Years. Henry Holt and Co.: New York. 1955. (hardcover)

Brown, Mark H. and W.R. Felton. Before Barbed Wire. Henry Holt and Co.: New York. 1956. (hardcover)

Horan, James D. Mathew Brady: Historian with a Camera. Bonanza Books: New York. 1955. (hardcover)

Phillips, David (ed.). The Taming of West: A Photographic Perspective. Henry Regnery Co.: Chicago. 1973. (hardcover)

Phillips, David (ed.). The West: An American Experience. Henry Regnery Co. 1973. (hardcover)

Tilden, Freeman.  Following the Frontier with F. Jay Haynes. Alfred A. Knopf: New York. 1964. (hardcover)
> Item Details
Sioux Beaded and Quilled Buffalo Hide Tobacco Bag from the Collection of Monroe Killy (1910-2010)
Lot # 92 - Sioux Beaded and Quilled Buffalo Hide Tobacco Bag from the Collection of Monroe Killy (1910-2010)
thread and sinew-sewn with body of bag fully beaded with colors of dark blue, light blue, red white-heart, greasy yellow, pea green, and white; upper portion of bag detailed with quilled slats and tin cones filled with yellow and blue feathers; lower edge of bag embellished with brass bells, overall length 33 in.
fourth quarter 19th century 

Monroe P. Killy (1910-2010)

Monroe P. Killy was born in Minneapolis, MN. His passion for anthropology began when, as a teenager, he built an Indian encampment in the back yard of his father’s photography studio. Killy’s keen interest in all things Indian led him to dedicate his life to learning about and understanding Native American culture. He is respected for the fine quality and exquisite detail of his photographs and films documenting Indian life and culture.

Throughout his life Killy worked primarily for Eastman Kodak in Minneapolis, first as a sales person and then as a manager. Killy’s avocation, studying Indians, prompted him to found the Minnesota Archaeological Society, where he was considered to be one of the most influential collectors in Minnesota. His collection grew as he purchased artifacts directly—either from the original owners or from Indian artisans. Today, Killy’s photographs, films, and portions of his collection are housed at the Minnesota Historical Society, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Science Museum of Minnesota.
> Item Details
Pima Figural Redware Bowl
Lot # 255 - Pima Figural Redware Bowl
inside of bowl decorated with four turtles and circles surrounded by undulating wave-like band; geometrics decorate outside of bowl, height 2 in. x diameter 7 in.
first quarter 20th century
> Item Details
Ute Beaded Hide Leggings From a Minnesota Collection
Lot # 71 - Ute Beaded Hide Leggings From a Minnesota Collection
sinew-sewn softly tanned hide; beaded at cuffs and along side flaps with colors of red white-heart, dark blue, greasy yellow, and white; with fringe embellishments; hide coated in yellow and green pigment, length 33 in.
fourth quarter 19th century 
> Item Details
Joy Hallauk (Inuit, 1940-2000) Stone Sculpture PLUS
Lot # 14 - Joy Hallauk (Inuit, 1940-2000) Stone Sculpture PLUS
lot of 2, including a sculpture of faces by Joy Hallauk, height 8 in. x width 7 in.; AND a reclining seal; unidentified artist; signed in syllabics, height 4.25 in. x length 9.25 in.
late 20th century
> Item Details
*Howard Weyahok Rock (Inupiaq, 1911-1976) Walrus Ivory Scrimshaw Pin PLUS
Lot # 7 - *Howard Weyahok Rock (Inupiaq, 1911-1976) Walrus Ivory Scrimshaw Pin PLUS
lot of 8, includes a pin signed Howard Weyahok and scrimshawed with a dog's head, length 1.75 in.; PLUS three pins and bottle opener, of Seattle manufacture all signed Nuguruk; lengths 1.75 in. - 2 in.; PLUS a ring, a walrus watch tab, and a resin pendant inscribed with a whale.
mid-late 20th century
> Item Details
Silver and Carnelian Bracelets
Lot # 518 - Silver and Carnelian Bracelets
Lot of 2. Includes a cuff with one large stone and four smaller ones plus hints of a gold metal, inside length with opening 7 in. x width 2.25 in.; AND a smaller bracelet with carnelian stones surrounded by delicate engraving, interior length with opening 7 in. x width 1 in.
> Item Details
Tlingit and Makah Baskets Collected by John S. Boyden, Sr. (1906-1980)
Lot # 19 - Tlingit and Makah Baskets Collected by John S. Boyden, Sr. (1906-1980)
lot of 3, all in relic condition, including a larger brightly decorated Tlingit basket, height 6 in. x diameter 4.75 in.; PLUS a smaller Tlingit basket, height 3.25 in. x diameter 4 in.; AND a lidded Makah basket, height 2 in. x diameter 4.75 in.
early 20th century
> Item Details
Western Pewter Inlaid Oak Cane
Lot # 296 - Western Pewter Inlaid Oak Cane
simple design at cuff and tip, length 36 in.
ca 1900
> Item Details
Hopi Redware Bowl Collected by John S. Boyden, Sr. (1906-1980)
Lot # 273 - Hopi Redware Bowl Collected by John S. Boyden, Sr. (1906-1980)
deep bowl with flared sides and decorated both out outer and inner walls, height 4 in. x diameter 10.5 in.
mid-20th century
> Item Details
Fannie Polacca Nampeyo (Hopi, 1904-1987) Jar
Lot # 212 - Fannie Polacca Nampeyo (Hopi, 1904-1987) Jar
globular form and fully painted with the migration pattern motif, signed on base, height 4.5 in. x diameter 6.75 in.
third quarter 20th century 
> Item Details
An Important Work by Henry Farny (American, 1847-1916), Gouache on Paper
Lot # 223 - An Important Work by Henry Farny (American, 1847-1916), Gouache on Paper
After Big Game
Signed and dated 1907, with bullseye monogram, l.r.
Exhibition label on verso
Housed in original gilt and gesso frame
9.25 x 5.5 in. (sight)

The small gouache by Henry Farny, one of the master artists of the American West during the late 19th and early 20th century, has never been offered on the market since it was sold by the artist in Cincinnati.  The meticulously executed example offers a lone hunter in winter, facing the viewer, snow shoes embedded in the soft powder.  Farny's iconic "lemon sky" shows through a bare forested backdrop.  

The painting was purportedly purchased directly from the artist (the Collection at one time contained numerous Farny's).  Farny, as many Cincinnati collectors are aware, was prone to drink and bouts of inactivity.  While he was nationally known and collected during his lifetime, he often sold his work only by necessity, and such is the case here.  Many Farny pictures are still buried in Cincinnati with similar stories, and were purchased directly from the artist. 

EXHIBITED

The Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH.  The Vanishing Frontier: Henry Farny, 1847-1916.  June 13-October 19, 1997.




> Item Details
Chippewa Beaded Bandolier Bag
Lot # 416 - Chippewa Beaded Bandolier Bag
thread-sewn and beaded using colors of translucent, light blue, pea green, medium blue, pumpkin, and greasy yellow; bold floral devices decorated pouch and strap; black velveteen around pouch, length 37 in. x width 14.5 in.
ca 1900 
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Hopi Second Mesa Basketry Trays
Lot # 131 - Hopi Second Mesa Basketry Trays
lot of 2, includes one with Crow Mother, diameter 13.25 in.; AND another with four dogs, diameter 9.75 in.
mid- third quarter 20th century
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Cheyenne Beaded Hide Moccasins
Lot # - Cheyenne Beaded Hide Moccasins
sinew-sewn and beaded using colors of white, dark blue, and pea green; angled cuffs, length 9.25 in.
late 19th century
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Navajo Ganado Roomsize Weaving / Rug
Lot # 185 - Navajo Ganado Roomsize Weaving / Rug
finely woven in black, cream, brown, and gray; with interesting geometric design of a double stepped diamond filled with various angled devices, 142 x 108 in. (10 ft. x 9 ft.1in.)
second quarter 20th century
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Cochiti Painted Drum
Lot # 61 - Cochiti Painted Drum
drum shell painted in red and blue; hide top and base, height 12 in. x diameter 11 in.
early 20th century
> Item Details