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Jim and Lauris Phillips Collection in spotlight at Bonhams June Native American Art Auction
A Navajo chief's blanket. Est. $40,000-60,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Bonhams presents part one of Property from the Jim and Lauris Phillips Collection, San Marino, CA, within its springtime Native American Art auction, June 3, in San Francisco. This portion of the collection comprises more than 200 lots – half of the entire sale – of fine textiles, kachina dolls and historic pottery, as well as many of the best examples from the Phillips’ amazing basket collection of more than 400 baskets, mostly from California, to be portioned out in this and future sales.

In this upcoming sale, there will be five baskets from the Chumash people of Southern California, two of which are estimated at $15,000-20,000 and $12,000-15,000, respectively; a sizeable number of brilliant Mission bowls and trays depicting rattlesnakes, other animal figures and people; fine basket examples by the Pomo and Maidu tribes; and numerous bottlenecks from central California, the Yosemite region and most every other basket producing area.

Additional highlights will include a Yokut gambling tray, once from the William Randolph Hearst Collection (est. $20,000-30,000); a 9-inch, Wiyot lidded masterpiece by Elizabeth Hickox (est. $15,000-20,000); and a large polychrome basket in seed jar form by Lucinda Hancock. While California is the area of origin for most of the collection, there are also marvelous woven containers from the Apache, Pima and Chemehuevi tribes.

Another section of interest in the sale is historic Southwest pottery. The Phillips Collection includes eight Hopi vessels (est. $20,000-30,000 on a couple) by the master potter Nampeyo. Roughly half of these examples will be offered in this auction.

In addition to these, the Phillips’ collection holds antique pottery jars, dough bowls and canteens of varying estimates from the villages of Santa Ana, Zuni, San Ildefonso, Cochiti, Acoma, Zia, and others.

There is a charming selection of figural pottery from Zuni and Cochiti artists. One of the few more contemporary pieces is a storyteller with 14 children and a dog attached to her, by Helen Cordero (est. $6,000-9,000).

There will also be a select group of Navajo blankets and floor rugs, the best of which is a second phase chief’s blanket, formerly in the Collection of Maria Chabot, and later, Anthony Berlant, and published in Berlant’s seminal book The Navajo Blanket, 1972, also written by Mary Hunt Kahlenberg. The blanket is estimated at $40,000-60,000. There will also be a child’s wearing blanket, a third phase chief’s blanket, fascinating pictorials and transitionals.

Highlights from other consignors include a Northwest Coast Chilkat blanket, Charles Loloma jewelry, paintings by Fred Kabotie, beadwork, quillwork and a varied assortment of high quality, collectible and historically significant Native American art.

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