Katsina dolls and tex­tiles are among the stand­outs of Bon­hams’ De­cem­ber 4 sale of Na­tive American art.

Native American Art - - AUCTIONS -

Katsina dolls and tex­tiles are among the stand­outs of Bon­hams’ De­cem­ber 4 sale of Na­tive American art.


At 11 a.m. on De­cem­ber 4, Bon­hams hosted its se­cond Na­tive American Art auc­tion of 2017, see­ing a strong in­ter­est from bid­ders across a mul­ti­tude of cat­e­gories. The sale, which gar­nered $884,844, was one that depart­ment head Ing­mārs Lind­bergs says “did well on a num­ber of lev­els,” cit­ing at­ten­dance and items from col­lec­tions be­ing of in­ter­est with bid­ders.

“We were pleased to of­fer items for a cou­ple of re­ally good col­lec­tions and al­though our sale was one the smaller side, the con­ser­va­tive pric­ing helped drive in­ter­est,” he elab­o­rates. “The sale was well at­tended with 10 per­cent of lots go­ing to first-time buy­ers. In­ter­est­ingly, more than 50 per­cent of the win­ning bids came from on­line, which shows that while buy­ers may not travel as far for sales, they are still ac­tively par­tic­i­pat­ing.”

The top lot of the sale was a Navajo Ger­man­town weav­ing (est. $40/60,000) that sold squarely within its pre­sale es­ti­mate at $50,000. Of the piece, Lind­bergs says, “This was an ex­cep­tional ex­am­ple from the pe­riod. Al­though by an un­known artist, you could clearly see that they were a mas­ter of their craft. The de­sign and colors are clas­sic Saltillo, which were finely wo­ven tex­tiles worn by wealthy landown­ers. This was also the first time weavers were us­ing com­mer­cially dyed and spun wools, which al­lowed them to do things they had never been able to do be­fore with their weav­ing.”

The se­cond high­est achiev­ing item of the day was an im­por­tant Pomo oval bas­ket that had pre­vi­ously been pub­lished and was dis­played in mu­se­ums. Es­ti­mated at $15,000 to $25,000, the bas­ket brought in $35,000. Lind­bergs adds, “the size and pres­ence as a whole was a big fac­tor in driv­ing the price.”

Other no­table per­form­ers were a Navajo Bisti pic­to­rial rug (est. $7/10,000) that sold for $27,500 and a Ken­neth Be­gay ster­ling sil­ver and wood chess set (est. $20/30,000) at $22,500. Of the lat­ter piece, Lind­bergs ex­plains, “We aren’t sure if this was a

com­mis­sioned piece or some­thing that [Be­gay] sim­ply made and sold, but it had never be­fore been to mar­ket and was pre­vi­ously dis­played at the White Ho­gan Shop as one of their ‘not for sale’ items.”

A collection of Hopi and Zuni kastina dolls also were of note in the sale, with five of them land­ing in the top 10 lots of the sale. “Well-cu­rated col­lec­tions that are as­sem­bled over time prove to be one of the driv­ing forces be­hind the mar­ket, and the kachina dolls were the per­fect ex­am­ple of this,” Lind­bergs notes. “The collection was as­sem­bled over 20 years and the qual­ity of ma­te­rial was cer­tainly what mo­ti­vated the mar­ket­place.”

1. Navajo Bisti pic­to­rial rug. Es­ti­mate: $7/10,000 SOLD: $27,500

2. Ken­neth Be­gay (Navajo), ster­ling sil­ver and wood chess set. Es­ti­mate: $20/30,000 SOLD: $22,500

3. An ex­cep­tional Navajo Ger­man­town weav­ing. Es­ti­mate: $40/60,000 SOLD: $50,000

4. An im­por­tant Pomo oval bas­ket. Es­ti­mate: $15/25,000 SOLD: $35,000

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