Cowan’s American Indian and Western Art Auction

A rare Eastern Plains Catlinite Double-Bowl pipe is featured in Cowan’s American Indian and Western Art Auction on March 26, 2010. With two trapezoidal bowls decorated with human hands and bear claws of lead inlay, this piece dates to the mid-19th century and is one of only a few known examples found in collections around the world. The auction will lead with nearly 400 lots of American Indian Art and followed by a strong selection of respected 19th and 20th century western artists such as Edgar Payne and J.H. Sharp.

The sale highlights a Yavapai Apache Figural Olla (est. $30/40,000). The coiled form features a variety of canine, deer and human figures within a banded motif. This wonderful example stands just over twenty inches in height.

A Rocker-engraved Pipe Tomahawk, Southern Teton Lakota (probably Oglala) also tops the list of important items in the sale. Both faces of the tomahawk blade are engraved with figures depicting scenes of combat. These scenes are suggestive of the 1860’s period of Lakota history in Nebraska, where Union Pacific construction crews were frequently attacked by war parties.

Other American Indian highlights include a Pueblo Hide Shield with Avanyu (est. $8/10,000), a pair of Santa Clara Blackware Jars attributed to Sara Fina Tafoya ($8/10,000), a monumental San Ildefonso vase by Maria Martinez, bought at the Chicago’s Worlds Fair ($12/18,000), along with a Northwest Coast Wooden Frog Snuff Box (est. $15/2,000). Two Hopi Katsinas are also of interest; a Hopi Flat-style Katsina, Puchtihu (est. $2/3,000) and a Hopi Salako Katsina (est. $2/4,000).

A fine selection of American Western art will follow, leading with Joseph Henry Sharp’s oil on canvas titled Smoke Signal (est. $30/50,000) and Donald Teague’s watercolor illustration for “Saddle by Starlight” (est. $15/20,000) published in Collier’s Weekly, in June, 1952.

American Impressionist Edgar Payne’s oil on board, titled Mountain Landscape exemplifies the artist’s affection for the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is expected to sell between $10,000 and $15,000. Kenneth Riley’s, The Delegates, oil on board, is estimated to bring between $15,000 and $25,000 along with William Herbert Dunton’s Painting for Illustration. A watercolor on paper by Alice Schille titled Hillside Workers is expected to sell for between $12,000 and $14,000. Works by Frank Tenney Johnson, Thomas Hart Benton and Edward Curtis are also of interest.

A magnificent life size bronze of Chief Rain-in-the-Face by David McGary towers over Cowan’s auction at 6 ft. 9 in. The striking and dramatic figure of Rain-in-the-Face by American sculptor, David McGary (est. $50/70,000) is one of the artist’s earlier and finest forays in larger-than-life bronze work. While McGary’s life size works are featured in numerous museum collections, they rarely surface at auction and will likely attract strong interest from collectors.

The online catalogue for the American Indian and Western Art auction, featuring detailed photographs, expanded scholarship, and condition reports, will be posted to Cowan’s website the week of March 1, 2010. Printed catalogues will be available after March 12th.

Overlapping the March 26th American Indian and Western Art auction, Cowan’s is honored to be offering John Painter’s Library of American Indian and Western Art. John Painter of Cincinnati, Ohio was the author of American Indian Artifacts: The John Painter Collection and A Window on the Past. During his years of collecting, he had amassed a vast assortment of catalogues and research materials on the Plains Indians and noted Western artists. This auction will be posted to the Cowan’s website ( March 20th and close at 12:00 PM on Sunday, April 4th.

About Cowan’s Auctions

Cowan’s is one of the nation’s leading auction houses specializing in four divisions: American History; American Indian and Western Art; Fine and Decorative Art; and Historic Firearms and Early Militaria. Cowan’s has long been helping individuals and institutions build important collections with sales that routinely set world records for rare offerings.