Rare Native American art honoured in trio of Bonhams auctions


Bonhams paid tribute to Native American art traditions on June 4, with three major sales held in San Francisco. 


Native American olla
This olla was originally hung at the Hubbell Trading Post in Arizona

The trio of sales included the Robert "Trader Bob" Bayuk Collection of Native American Art, the G. Lorenzo Fritz Collection of Historic Native American Photographs and a various owners sale of fine Native American art.

The first sale featured the Robert "Trader Bob" Collection, which is widely considered the most important collection of Native American basketry. The sale was highlighted by a finely woven Tubatulabul/Kawaiisu bottleneck polychrome basket with wool tufts and feathers around the perimeter, which sold as top lot for $35,000.

The G. Lorenzo Fritz Collection of Native American photographs saw an extremely rare image of the famous Geronimo with his son and two Apache braves feature as the leading lot, selling for $6,250. Also starring was an iconic shot of the Battle of Little Bighorn victor, Sitting Bull, which sold for $3,125.

The third and final sale at Bonhams saw the highest sale prices of the three auctions, with an important Dogoszhi olla bringing $50,000. The pot, dated 1050, was reported to have originally hung from the rafters at the Hubbell Trading Post, which is now a national historic site in Arizona.

The olla was closely followed by a rare San Ildefonso turtle effigy, one of just eight turtles made by Tony Da, a pivotal figure in the history of modern Pueblo pottery. Da is noted as one of the first men in his tribe to make pottery and the first to inlay stone as part of the design. The turtle, which is one of four remaining in private hands, sold for $43,750.

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