Hilton Hotel, Santa Fe, NM
This story was featured in the August 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art August 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art August 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
Fascinating Native American artifacts from two private collections are an important part of the ninth annual Auction in Santa Fe, which takes place at the Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza on August 11 and 12. The auction begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday and then recommences at 1 p.m. on Monday. Items are available for preview Saturday, August 10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and both Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The first private collection belongs to Dr. Delwin and Karen Bokelman of Doylestown, PA. Auction in Santa Fe co-owner Bob Nelson helped them amass an impressive collection of Indian, cowboy, and Mexican artifacts beginning in the early 1980s. Approximately 70 items from their collection are for sale during this year’s auction, including a Sioux cradle circa 1890: a fully beaded, 22-inch-tall cradle with cowry shells and bugle-bead drops. It’s estimated to sell for between $10,000 and $12,000. The Bokelman collection also includes a 1890s deer-hide Brulé Sioux war shirt estimated to sell for between $40,000 and $60,000.
The second private collection is equally impressive. “It is for the first time, and with great pride and love, that Kent Wintersteen’s family is now offering 24 items for sale to the public through Auction in Santa Fe,” says auction co-owner Charla Nelson. Wintersteen, a South Dakota rancher who passed away this year, was an avid collector of Native American art and artifacts for more than 25 years. He had a particular passion for the Northern Plains tribes. A number of items from his extensive collection have been or are currently on display at the Heritage Hall Museum in Freeman, SD. Among the auction items is a 19th-century Plains woman’s painted buffalo robe that has box and border painted designs. The estimated sale price is between $20,000 and $30,000.
Over 100 pieces are available from the Indian River Gallery, in Las Vegas, NV. Works include pottery from artists such as Maria Martinez and Margaret Tafoya and weavings by Bessie Little Bear, Cecelia Nez, and many more.
More than 550 lots from nearly every state in the country are featured in the auction, and close to three-quarters of the items are collectible Native American arts. There also is a selection of contemporary weavings and pottery, including a Santa Clara wedding vase by Elizabeth Naranjo. The carved blackware vase featuring avanyu (serpent) designs is estimated to sell for between $9,000 and $12,000.
“We’ll have some Plains weaponry in the auction,” says Bob Nelson. “One of the special items is a pipe tomahawk from the early 1850s. It’s highly decorated and collectible. I estimate it will sell for between $30,000 and $50,000.”
Finally, fine art is also well-represented in the auction. The Nelsons are thrilled to be able to offer a dozen or more works by artist Birger Sandzén [1871-1954], such as a landscape circa 1930, which is estimated to sell for between $25,000 and $35,000. “It’s quite unusual to see six or more of Sandzén’s works in one auction,” says Charla Nelson. “We’ll be featuring six oils, one charcoal, and several prints. He’s so collectible in today’s market. Sandzén is often thought of as America’s Van Gogh.” —Emily Van Cleve
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