Cowan’s American Indian and Western Art Sale Results

. April 13, 2010

Cowan’s March 26, 2010 American Indian and Western Auction had total proceeds reach over $762,000. The catalogued portion of the auction offered 507 lots, and an online-only second session that immediately followed featured an additional 309 lots.

The highest-selling lot of the auction was a circa 1900 Yavapai Apache Olla with figural decorations, which brought $41,125, above its $30/40,000 estimate. The olla was desirable because of its intricate, well-spaced design and multiple figures.

A Cheyenne Beaded Hide Tobacco Bag from the fourth quarter of the 19th century sold for $17,919, nearly doubling its $8/10,000 estimate. The bag’s condition and beautiful color palette contributed to its high selling price.

More than tripling its $2/4,000 estimate was a late-19th-century Hopi Salako Katsina, which brought $14,100. Painted in red, green, black, and white; with hand-spun cotton cord, the Katsina stands at 9.75” tall. An extremely rare Eastern Plains (Iowa) Double-Pipe Bowl also far exceeded its $2/3,000 estimate, realizing $11,750. Secondary research performed by Danica Farnand, Director of American Indian Art, indicates that the Ioway Indians used one bowl for making peace within the tribe, and the second for making peace with other tribes. Additionally, the two rows of four divots may be representative of the Black Bear and Buffalo gentes creating the Ioway tribe.

“I was very happy with the outcome of the sale. We had a variety of items and stars in each collecting area. The bidding was heated and that always makes for an exciting auction. I was also thrilled the results of the Iowa double pipe. I have to say, it was probably my favorite piece of the auction” commented Danica Farnand.

The Western Art portion of the auction featured works by well-known artists of the genre. Joseph Henry Sharp’s oil on canvas titled Smoke Signals was the top-selling work of art in the auction, realizing $31,725, within its $30/50,000 estimate. The piece was a later example, typical of his brighter Southwestern subjects.

A mountain scene by Edgar Payne, one of the foremost plein air artists in California in the early 20th century, garnered spirited bidding from the phones and bidders on iCowans. The oil on board sold for $28,200, nearly doubling its $10/15,000 estimate. Although it was a small example of his work, the painting was completely untouched and was extensively finished for its size. This auction served as its first appearance in the art market since it was purchased from the artist by the consignor’s grandmother.

John Hauser’s oil on canvas Red Cloud, Chief of all Sioux Nation was another high-seller within the group of western art, bringing $12,338, above its $8/10,000 estimate. This work was undoubtedly executed from a photograph, but is the only known portrait of Red Cloud by Hauser.

Graydon Sikes, Director of Paintings and Works on Paper, commented, “The strong paintings sold up to par with our expectations. All in all we were generally pleased, and our Cincinnati paintings, the Sharp and Hauser, brought strong prices. The Edgar Payne also performed very well for its size. I think every California gallery was on the phone for that picture!”

About Cowan’s Auctions, Inc.

As one of the nation’s leading auction houses with sales approaching $20 million, Cowan’s has been helping individuals and institutions build important collections for more than a decade. The company’s four divisions of American History, American Indian and Western Art, American and European Fine and Decorative Art, and Historic Firearms & Early Militaria hold semi-annual cataloged sales that routinely set records for rare offerings.

Through its extensive mailing list of more than 33,000 collectors, dealers and institutional clients, each Cowan’s auction typically attracts more than 1,000 bidders from across the globe. To learn more about Cowan’s visit our website at

Category: Auction News

Comments are closed.