Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Native American Art for San Francisco Sale

On June 7th 2010, fine arts auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields will bring collectible Native American art to auction — featuring jewelry, baskets, pots and blankets from private collections, estates and institutions. Desirable lots stem from an Atlanta collection, from private collections and estates in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and California, and deaccessioned from a Washington State museum.

The sale previews will open to collectors, institutional curators, art gallery owners and others in the auctioneer’s San Francisco exhibition space on June 4-6. As well, the illustrated auction catalog for the sale is available for review at the firm’s website: Native American art is offered twice each year in the firm’s San Francisco salesroom. The popular auctions are standing-room-only and the auction house has set world record prices for Native American baskets, textiles and pottery.

Jim Haas, Bonhams & Butterfields V.P. and Director for Native American art sales, said, “Bonhams is pleased to handle a strong offering of Native American art this summer, including fine quality early pieces of Southwest silver and turquoise jewelry from the Sheldon and Barbara Breitbart Collection, likely to interest both private buyers and members of the trade.” As well, Haas anticipates strong interest in a Southeastern US collection of Plains beadwork featuring cradles, shirts and dresses of a quality rarely seen on the market.

Highlights for June include the large and fine collection of early silver, turquoise, coral and shell jewelry from the Breitbart Collection, which includes Navajo, Hopi, Pueblo and Zuni bracelets and necklaces and a first-phase Navajo concha belt with eight oval silver conchas, expected to bring $18/28,000. Included with this belt is an appraisal written by the co-author of “Indian Silver Jewelry of the Southwest: 1868-1930.” Millard J. Holbrook’s note describes the belt as a classic first phase concha belt made by a Navajo silversmith about 1870 to 1880. He believed that this belt was used for some time by the Navajo since belts of this type were not being made for tourists. It is rare to find a belt with eight conchas, circular center slots with rocker engraving and its original leather, making the lot more desirable to collectors.

Property from the collection of Bob and Kitty Lovett of Atlanta, GA includes cradles and dolls, jars and baskets, and dresses and moccasins. An Apache model cradle features a traditional wood frame and hood covered in muslin, beaded with stripes down the sides. A baby doll inside the cradle is dressed in black with beaded earrings (est. $4/6,000). A foot-tall Sioux beaded doll is clothed in an ornate fully-beaded bodice, wearing a printed cloth petticoat and beaded moccasins and leggings (est. $10/15,000).

A Sioux fully-beaded girl’s dress on buckskin from the collection is open down both sides and held with ties, imaginatively decorated with a profusion of geometric configurations. Silk ribbons, short fringe and suspended tin cones decorate the lower portion of the 29-inch garment, expected to bring $40/60,000. A Jicarilla Apache beaded dress is estimated at $25/35,000, this two-skin garment was designed with a separately attached bodice, decorated in striped bands, tubular bead accents and ochre pigment.

A pair of Southern Cheyenne beaded high-top moccasins could bring $10/15,000 and the Atlanta collection’s vessels include a finely polished San Ildefonso blackware jar by Carmelita and Carlos Sunrise Dunlap, more than 16-inches high (est. $4/6,000), and a five-inch tall Yokut polychrome bottleneck basket woven with snake design bands and a row of human figures – alternating men and women hand-in-hand, with wool and feather tufts at the shoulder and loops of beads fastened at the rim (est. $10/15,000).

Sculpture by modern artists includes Allan Houser’s bronze “Holders of the Knowledge” (expected to bring $15/20,000) and paintings will be offered, such as Fritz Scholder’s work on canvas “Sabino Canyon #2” which could sell for $4/6,000.

Bonhams’ June sale will include a Navajo late classic chief’s blanket [4ft 9in x 5ft 7in] (est. $12/18,000) as well as a Plains buffalo robe (est. $7/10,000). A classic Navajo serape with allover diamond lattice pattern woven with naturally dyed raveled yarns looks to sell in the $40/60,000 range, according to Dept. Director Haas, the serape is a hallmark of the fine quality this sale brings to the marketplace.

A fine and rare four-color Yokut basketry gambling tray is estimated at $20/30,000. Other baskets of varying sizes will be offered, including a Yokut polychrome bottleneck basket (est. $6/9,000) and a three-inch high Mono Lake Paiute polychrome basket by Carrie Bethel (est. $5/8,000). The Bethel example is finely woven, with alternating stacked triangles and rows of winged devices.

Following on the heels of the success seen in Bonhams’ December 2009 Native American sale for several lots described as grease bowls, in use during the 18th and 19th centuries by the Tlingit or Haida, several additional Northwest Coast bowls will be offered to bidders this summer. A Northwest Coast eagle effigy bowl with rich oily patina could fly for $50/80,000 while another Northwest Coast feast bowl is estimated at $12/18,000.