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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Market Notes > Civil War Photography

Preserving Old Photos

Collecting Antique Photographs

Spanish-American War

Elton John's Photographic Collection

Native American Blankets

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Native American Glossary of Terms


  Civil War Photography Exhibit
More photos like this on display at the Lynn Museum

Soldiers at ease: rarely seen Civil War images

Selection of Native American Art 
to be Offered in San Francisco and Online this Fall

10 September, 2002 San Francisco.... Arts of the West come to the auction block at Butterfields in November 2002 as the West Coast’s leading auctioneer, recently acquired by London-based Bonhams, offers its best-ever selection of Native American art along with the most impressive collection of Navajo weavings to ever be presented to their bidders.

The Monday, November 18, 2002 Native American, Pre-Columbian and Tribal works of Art sale will be held in the Butterfields salesroom and feature online real-time bidding. The illustrated auction catalog will be accessible to view and purchase at Butterfields in the weeks preceding the auction. Previews of the property are open in San Francisco November 15th through the 18th.

The auction has the distinction of including first, second and third phase classic period chief’s blankets. One highlight is a Ute style first phase blanket which, according to Department Director Jim Haas, “defines the essence of Navajo weavings, as one of the rarest and most desirable examples of the original Navajo aesthetic.”

Estimated at $150,000 to $200,000 this blanket has a deceptively simple design of broad stripes in dark brown, indigo blue and white. Many of these blankets were created for personal use within the tribe, as well as for trade to others. The Ute, to the north, found them particularly attractive, and their predilection for these luxury garments led to their eventual description as “Ute style” blankets despite their Navajo origins.

Serapes, children’s blankets, a woman’s manta, early pictorial rugs, room-sized carpets, fine regional rugs and excellent examples of Germantown weavings will be offered in November. Germantown examples are highly sought-after by collectors, these fine pieces incorporating a broader range of colors and generally a more exuberant design than Native American weavings prior to the 1880’s. Many of the Navajo textiles on offer have been deaccessioned from the Denver Art Museum, to be sold to fund future acquisitions.

Among the often-popular baskets to be offered are a good selection of California and Southwestern varieties, such as a Mission rattlesnake bowl, Panamint pictorials and Yokut bottleneck and cooking baskets in the $1,500 to $15,000 range as well as several highly prized examples such as a “degikup” by famous Washo basket maker Tootsie Dick Sam. A “bug basket” by Chemehuevi Mary Snyder is expected to attract bidder interest, it could bring as much as $20,000 to $40,000.

A collection of more than 20 Apache baskets will be featured, these examples collected between 1898 and 1902. These fine representations by experienced hands have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution, San Francisco’s DeYoung Museum, the Oakland Museum and at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History. The property, from the collection of Jennie Fletcher, is accompanied by vintage photos and other documentation which should intrigue collectors and dealers alike. A “buzz” within the collector community was created at the Butterfields booth during the recent Whitehawk collector’s show at Indian Market Week in Santa Fe for one of the most interesting of the Apache baskets, an olla depicting the weaver’s life in a riot of positive and negative figural images.

From the Northwest Coast come two Chilkat blankets and several argillite pipes. An 18-inch argillite totem pole by Charles Edenshaw is to be offered. Edenshaw, noted as one of the foremost traditional Northwest native artists of the late 19th century, also created a wonderful painted basketry hat which is expected to bring $20,000 to $30,000. A first half 19th century frontlet -- a wooden ceremonial headdress featuring carved figures in relief -- is to be offered at $30,000 to $40,000 while an excellent raven’s rattle, as well as a 19th century bird clan headdress and a Nootka wolf mask will be offered. A fine collection of horn ladles, shamanic implements and button blankets are also within the sale.

Beadwork on the Butterfields’ block will include Plains examples such as a Crow rifle case and model cradle, a Cheyenne bow case and quiver, a Plateau pony-beaded bandoleer, a superb Blackfoot blanket strip and two sets of Apache saddlebags. From further East comes an extremely fine Red River Metis beaded pouch in beautiful condition and dating to the first half of the 19th century.

One of several rarities to be offered is a unique beaded valise depicting Admiral George Dewey. Dewey, a war hero who served during the Civil War and later lead a fleet of ships in the Spanish American War, was promoted by Congress to Rear Admiral prior to publishing his autobiography around 1913.

His beaded portrait was likely created by Edith Claymore, one of a small group of skilled Sioux artists working along the Cheyenne River during the turn of the 19th century. The estimate for this interesting and historic work will be $15,000 to $20,000.

A large and extraordinary Apache painted hide features depictions of metaphysical figures with varied symbolic elements and should sell for $15,000 to $25,000. Also expected to attract bidder attention is a rare example of a Cheyenne quilled robe decorated for use as an interior tipi liner. A Yakima beaded tail dress, a Cheyenne beaded cradle and a number of ingeniously artistic pipes and bowls will be offered.

Butterfields Native American, Pre-Columbian and Tribal works of Art sales have established a reputation for quality and strong prices realized in multiple collecting areas and the November offering includes: Pre-Columbian pottery; stone sculptures and gold jewelry; a nice collection of 19th century Aymara textiles; Spanish Colonial devotional items and paintings; and African, Oceanic and other tribal art.




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