Curtis images, Acoma pottery big sellers at Cowan’s
“I thought we had a wonderful sale. The room was full of energy and many of the lots exceeded my expectations. I am very happy with the results,” said Cowan’s Danica Fernand, director, American Indian Art.
Nearly 650 bidders from 13 countries competed for 423 lots. The auction brought in a sales total of $612,427 inclusive of premium. Most of the winning bidders bid online or by phone (32 percent and 30 percent, respectively); 20 percent bid on the floor and 18 percent by absentee. There was an 81 percent sell-through rate with 27 percent of the lots selling above estimate. The biggest seller was the Edward Curtis North American Indians Portfolio Volume 1: The Apache. The Jicarillas. The Navaho, which hammered down at $28,200. Items from a collection of Acoma pottery were also highlights in the sale. Prices in this report reflect the buyer’s premium.
Several Edward Curtis portfolios sold well at the auction. Estimated at $10,000/$15,000, the Edward Curtis North American Indians Portfolio Volume 1: The Apache. The Jicarillas. The Navaho brought in $28,200. The portfolio lacked six of its original 39 images.
The Edward Curtis North American Indians Portfolio Volume 6: The Piegan. The Cheyenne. The Arapaho hammered down at $15,862, selling above its estimate of $10,000/$15,000. The set of large-format photogravures contained 30 of its original 36 images.
The Edward Curtis Orotone Vanishing Race photograph estimated at $5,000/$7,000 sold for $11,750. This lot is signed and in the original arts and crafts bronzed gesso and wood batwing frame with Curtis’s descriptive label included.
An Acoma olla brought in $15,862 exceeding its estimate of $5,000/$7,000. This late-19th century globular form has a short neck and a deeply indented base with two major friezes consisting of densely decorated hatched geometrics separated by a more open design of pinwheels and curlicues.
Another Acoma olla estimated at $2,500/$3,500 brought in an impressive $10,575. Another pottery highlight was a Laguna olla estimated at $5,000/$7,000 that hammered down at $11,163.
A Mungo Martin (1881-1962) Kwakiutl carved and painted totem pole estimated for $6,000/$8,000 sold for $14,100.
A portrait painting of Quen-Chow-A-Moqui by Elbridge Ayer Burbank (Illinois, 1858-1949) sold for $12,338, having been estimated at $6,000/$8,000.
A Tlingit polychrome carved totem pole sold for $12,378 exceeding its estimate of $8,000/$10,000. Modeled after Chief Shakes’ totem and carved of cedar with a hollowed back, this pole depicts six figures painted in green, black and red. It is dated to the first quarter 20th century and is mounted on a wooden base.
An Aleta Tsosie Navajo Pictorial Weaving estimated at $5,000/$5,500 sold for $5,288. The weaving, titled Squaw Dance, is finely woven with the subjects depicting the only ceremony where men and women dance together. It is composed of 52 individual figures, 15 paired figures, 18 horses, sheep and cows.
An Apache/Kiowa beaded and painted hide jacket estimated at $7,000/$9,000 brought in $7,638. The jacket is thread-sewn and beaded using rose, translucent green, white and black beads. The softly tanned hide is coated in yellow, red, and blue-green pigment. A triangular bib hangs from the front and back of the jacket, while a thin fringe falls elegantly at the shoulder and arm seams. It has copper buttons.
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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE