Bonhams has announced that it will hold three major auctions of Native American art in San Francisco on June 4-5, 2012.
The sales will feature three important collections, The Robert "Trader Bob" Bayuk Collection of Native American Art, The G. Lorenzo Fritz Collection of Historic Native American Photographs, and a sale of Fine Native American Art from various consigners.
Comprising more than 500 lots, the sale will be highlighted by Native American basketry. Taken from The Robert "Trader Bob" Bayuk Collection, the top-lot will be a degikup or ceremonial basket, by Dat So La Lee, the most famous of Native American artists. A Washoe woman from the Lake Tahoe area, she is widely regarded as the greatest weaver in Native America.
The piece is just one of 40 large pieces made by Dat So La Lee, the majority of which are not in private hands. The degikup has been given a pre-sale estimate of $100,000-150,000 demonstrating her importance in Native American art. It provides a rare opportunity to own an item for collectors.
"In all my years with the auction house, and after having sold literally thousands of baskets, I think it is safe to say the Bayuk Collection is the finest basket assemblage to ever come up for auction," said Jim Haas, vice president and Native American art director.
Perhaps the most notable lot of the sale will be four baskets from the Chumash tribe. The last known weaver of the tribe died in the early 20th century, making the items increasingly rare. One of the pieces was also previously owned by naturalist John Muir, increasing estimates further.
Two of these scarce baskets have been valued at $40,000-60,000, while the other two have high estimates of $15,000 and $12,000.
The G. Lorenzo Fritz Collection will consist of over 125 lots of early photography, providing an unrivalled pictorial history of Native America. The auction will also see a fascinating spectrum of artefacts from across the US, including some contemporary items from native artists.