Show Preview | Native American Art Auction

San Francisco, CA
Bonhams, December 8

Northwest Coast Chilkat blanket, 73w. Estimate: $30,000-$40,000.

Northwest Coast Chilkat blanket, 73w. Estimate: $30,000-$40,000.

This story was featured in the December 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

Over the past three decades, Bonhams auction house has built a solid reputation as a leading auctioneer of American Indian art. It’s first Native American art auction took place in the early 1980s, and today Bonhams’ semi-annual Native American Art Auction is one of the most successful of its kind. Jim Haas, vice president and director of Native American art, has been running the department since 1984. “My first auction grossed a little over $160,000 in sales. Since then it’s been all uphill, as the department has grown exponentially,” he says, adding, “As prices rose, so did the respect and interest paid to the cultural legacy and artistic statements of this country’s native peoples.”

This month, Bonhams in San Francisco, CA, hosts the second of its two annual auctions of Native American art, which features approximately 400 lots including pottery, weaving, basketry, and more. A preview takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, December 5, through Sunday, December 7, and from 9 a.m. until the auction’s starting time at noon on Monday, December 8. Works can also be previewed online in the weeks leading up to the sale, which offers in-person, online, and phone bidding options.

Some of the highlights of the auction include a Navajo first phase chief’s blanket estimated at $200,000 to $300,000; a Northwest Coast Chilkat blanket estimated at $30,000 to $40,000; and a large Navajo sandpainting rug estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. Also featured are four Allan Houser bronzes, including the 22-by-30-inch MOTHER’S BLESSING, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000; an assortment of Apache and other Southwest baskets; and antique Hopi and Zuni kachina dolls. Finally, the auction includes contemporary Southwest pottery from major artists of the New Mexico pueblos, including Maria Martinez, Tony Da, and Helen Cordero.

“This is a tremendous way to start or add to a collection with things that, more likely than not, have been off the market for years,” Haas says. “The opportunity to bid on artworks previously blessed and cherished by another collector adds to the attraction and allure of these items as they pass from hand to hand.” —Lindsay Mitchell

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Featured in the December 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art December 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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