Show Preview | Native American Art Auction

San Francisco, CA
Bonhams, June 2

Nampeyo, Hopi Polychrome Jar, 6h x 13d. Estimate: $25,000-$35,000.

Nampeyo, Hopi Polychrome Jar, 6h x 13d. Estimate: $25,000-$35,000.

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

The venerable auction house of Bonhams is one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques, boasting a network of offices in 25 countries. This month the auctioneers present their semi-annual Native American Art Auction, which features more than 400 lots, including weavings, pottery, and baskets. According to Jim Haas, vice president and director of Native American Art, some of the auction’s highlights are textiles from the Alexandra and Sidney Sheldon Collection, baskets from the John Bowers Collection, and historic pottery from the Robert Peters Collection. “The auction will offer the opportunity for collectors to take advantage of the connoisseur knowledge and stewardship of several major collectors,” Haas says. “All three collections include superlative examples of the genres and reflect the taste and passion of these people who spent decades gathering items, one by one.”

Sidney Sheldon, who died in 1989, was an Academy Award-winning screenwriter and creator of a number of hit television shows. His wife, Alexandra, is a former actress and model. Special pieces from the Sheldon collection hitting the auction block are blankets from the classic and late classic periods of Navajo weavings. The star attraction of the group is a woman’s blue field manta estimated to sell for between $40,000 and $60,000. From the same collection, Bonhams also presents Mexican Saltillo serapes from as far back as the 18th century.

The Bowers collection spotlights baskets from California, the Great Basin, and the Northwest. Two examples on offer are a large and rare Yokuts polychrome oval bottleneck basket, which is expected to sell for between $6,000 and $8,000, and an Apache polychrome basket, estimated to sell for between $8,000 and $12,000. Also up for bidding from the Bowers collection is a Hopi polychrome jar by Nampeyo, featuring the artist’s classic eagle-tail pattern.

Finally, the Peters collection offers a sizeable array of pots, mostly Zuni in origin, including a polychrome jar estimated to sell for between $6,000 and $9,000.  Examples of 20th-century signed pottery by Tony Da, Margaret Tafoya, and Nancy Youngblood are also among the items up for bidding. —Bonnie Gangelhoff

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