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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Apache Olla Tops $41K At Cowan’s American Indian, Western Art Auction
by Auction House press release
credits: Images courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions
CINCINNATI – The highest-selling lot of Cowan’s American Indian and Western Auction was a circa 1900 Yavapai Apache olla with figural decorations, which brought $41,125. Estimated at $30,000-$40,000, the olla was desirable because of its intricate, well-spaced design and multiple figures. The March 26 auction had total proceeds of more than $762,000. The cataloged portion of the auction offered 507 lots, and an online-only second session that immediately followed featured an additional 309 lots.

A Cheyenne beaded hide tobacco bag from the fourth quarter of the 19th century sold for $17,919, nearly doubling its $8,000-$10,000 estimate. The bag’s condition and beautiful color palette contributed to its high selling price.

More than tripling its $2,000-$4,000 estimate was a late-19th-century Hopi Salako katsina, which brought $14,100. Painted in red, green, black and white, with hand-spun cotton cord, the katsina stood 9 3/4 inches tall. A rare Eastern Plains (Iowa) double-pipe bowl also far exceeded its $2,000-$3,000 estimate, realizing $11,750. Secondary research performed by Danica Farnand, director of American Indian Art at Cowan’s, indicates that the Ioway Indians used one bowl for making peace within the tribe, and the second for making peace with other tribes. Additionally, the two rows of four divots may be representative of the Black Bear and Buffalo gentes creating the Ioway tribe.

“I was very happy with the outcome of the sale. We had a variety of items and stars in each collecting area. The bidding was heated and that always makes for an exciting auction. I was also thrilled the results of the Iowa double pipe. I have to say, it was probably my favorite piece of the auction” said Farnand.

The Western Art portion of the auction featured works by well-known artists of the genre. Joseph Henry Sharp’s oil on canvas titled Smoke Signals was the top-selling work of art in the auction, realizing $31,725, within its $30,000-$50,000 estimate. The piece was a later example, typical of his brighter Southwestern subjects.

A mountain scene by Edgar Payne, one of the foremost plein air artists in California in the early 20th century, garnered spirited bidding. The oil on board sold for $28,200, nearly doubling its $10,000-$15,000 estimate. Although it was a small example of his work, the painting was completely untouched and was extensively finished for its size. This auction served as its first appearance in the art market since it was purchased from the artist by the consignor’s grandmother.

John Hauser’s oil on canvas Red Cloud, Chief of all Sioux Nation was another high-seller within the group of Western art, bringing $12,338, above its $8,000-$10,000 estimate. This work was undoubtedly executed from a photograph, but is the only known portrait of Red Cloud by Hauser.

"The strong paintings sold up to par with our expectations. All in all we were generally pleased, and our Cincinnati paintings, the Sharp and Hauser, brought strong prices. The Edgar Payne also performed very well for its size. I think every California gallery was on the phone for that picture," said Graydon Sikes, Cowan’s director of Paintings and Works on Paper.


To learn more about Cowan’s visit the Web site at

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized

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