Harriet And Seymour Koenig Collection Soars Past Estimates In Cowan's Spring American Indian And Western Art Premier Auction

Pottery And Textiles Excel

May 10, 2019

An exceptional collection of pottery, textiles, fine art, and katsinas from the southwestern United States led the way in Cowan’s Spring American Indian and Western Art: Premier Auction on April 5. The collection of Harriet and Seymour Koenig accounted for over $250,000 of the $1.3 million total. Prices reported include a 20-percent buyer’s premium.
“The prices today prove just how great an eye Harriet and Seymour had when assembling this beautiful collection,” said Danica Farnand, Cowan’s director of American Indian and Western Art. “Bidders could feel the passion and love of the region exuding from every piece.”
The top lot from the collection was a late 19th-century Zuni polychrome olla that sold for $33,210. A large form, having a concave base, sharp shoulders, and slightly flared rim, the olla was painted boldly with stylized rainbirds, birds with flowers in their beaks, and finely crosshatched winged elements.
Other highlights from the collection included a Nampeyo of Hano (Hopi, 1859-1942) attributed, pictorial pottery jar, which sold for $18,000; a Navajo Germantown weaving for $15,600; a Navajo Teec Nos Pos room-size weaving for $10,200; an Acoma four-color polychrome jar for $10,200; a Chilcotin imbricated pictorial basket for $7,200; and a Cochiti figure for $6,600.
The top lot of the day was a massive grizzly bear claw necklace that sold for $60,000. Made up of 31 honey-colored grizzly claws of graduating size strung together on a hide thong, the necklace measured 18.75 inches from end to end. Included with the lot was a half-length oil portrait miniature of Thomas Willard Hough (1807-96), the original collector of the piece, housed in a half plate pressed leather case, ca. 1842-43.
It was a good day for beadwork, with an Assiniboine beaded hide shirt taking the top honor in the category, selling for $39,000. Thread and sinew-sewn, the softly-tanned hide shirt featured beaded strips along arms, chest, and bib using the colors of light blue, red white-heart, cobalt, greasy yellow, pumpkin white, and cut brass. Adding to the allure, the shirt had descended directly from a chief of the Assiniboine tribe in Harlem, Mont.
Other highlights from the beadwork category included a Blackfeet beaded hide knife sheath with Jukes Coulson dag knife, which sold for $24,000; a Sioux beaded hide dress for $9,600; Sioux beaded hide saddle bags for $7,800; Ute beaded hide saddle blankets for $7,800; a Sioux child's full-size beaded hide pictorial cradle for $7,200; and a pair of Mescalero Apache beaded and painted hide moccasins for $7,200.
While the stars of the pottery category came from the Koenig collection, the enthusiasm for the medium was contagious. A Tammy Garcia (Santa Clara, b. 1969) blackware pottery seed jar from the collection of William H. Saunders, M.D., and Putzi Saunders was the top lot in the category outside of the Koenig collection, selling for $10,455. Other standouts included a Grace Medicine Flower (Santa Clara, b. 1938) polychrome pottery jar that sold for $7,200; a Nancy Youngblood (Santa Clara, b. 1955) carved blackware pottery jar for $5,700; and a Tammy Garcia (Santa Clara, b. 1969) carved redware pottery jar for $5,700.
Katsinas and pottery figures also fared well during the auction. The top lot in the category was an early 20th century Zuni Shalako katsina, which sold for $9,600. Other notable lots included a Hopi Hemis katsina from the second quarter of the 20th century that sold for $6,600; a Wilson Tawaquaptewa (Hopi, 1871-1960) katsina doll for $6,600; and a Wilmer Kaye (Hopi, b. 1952) katsina sculpture for $6,000.
Other highlights from the auction included a Henry Farny (American, 1847-1916) gouache titled “In Luck,” which sold for $26,400; a Chumash polychrome basket for $20,400; a Helene Nez (Dine, 20th century) Navajo multi-award-winning sandpainting weaving for $15,600; an Alfie Collinson (Haida, b. 1951) argillite lidded box titled “Transformation, Man Into Killer Whale” for $13,200; a J. Wilson (American, 19th century) attributed, engraved pipe tomahawk from the collection of William H. Jensen (ca. 1887-1979) for $12,000; a Charles Loloma (Hopi, 1921-99) 14-carat gold and turquoise ring for $11,400; and a Kutenai buffalo hide painted two-sided fringed parfleche case for $9,840.
This auction held in Cowan’s Cincinnati, Ohio, salesroom had 704 bidders, a record for an American Indian and Western Art sale at Cowan’s.
For more information, call 513-871-1670.


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