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Sotheby's announces "Arts of the American West: A Collection from the David J. Brown Family"
Upper Missouri River Quilled and Beaded Hide Man’s Shirt, Probably Mandan, 60½in. width across the arms as mounted; 46in. length. Est. $125/175,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- On 4 December 2013 at 2pm Sotheby’s will present Arts of the American West: A Collection from the David J. Brown Family in a remarkable single owner sale. The group of approximately 45 works features outstanding American Indian and Western Art and goes on public exhibition starting 29 November.

David Roche, Senior Consultant in Sotheby’s American Indian Art Department said: “We are delighted to offer the Brown Family Collection in a single owner sale in New York this December. The intrinsic themes found in the arts of the American West are celebrated throughout the collection which reflects multiple views and interpretations from the Mandan and Cheyenne to Ernest Leonard Blumenschein and Ansel Adams.”

American Indian Art
Among the highlights of the American Indian Art is A Rare Mesquakie Bear Claw Necklace And Turban (est. $40/60,000). The ‘Prairie Grizzly’ was known for growing long, distinctive claws which were collected by worthy men of the Prarie tribes with the hope of one day collecting enough to make a full necklace. Thirty one grizzly bear claws are used in this outstanding necklace which would have been worn by the Great Lakes and Prairie peoples in the same way as Plains Indians used the distinctive feather bonnets.

Following a number of recent benchmark prices for Indian Shirts at Sotheby’s, the sale will include An Upper Missouri River Quilled And Beaded Hide Man's Shirt which dates to the first half of the 19th century when trading posts had opened up along the Missouri River (est. $125/175,000). The shirt, which is probably Mandan, is notable for the extraordinarily beautiful hide strips decorated with delicate blue glass
beads and finely plaited red, blue and yellow porcupine quillwork. Mandan shirts in this condition seldom appear on the market making this one of the most important such pieces to have appeared at auction.

Cradles such as A Kiowa Beaded Hide and Cloth Fringed Cradle are considered to be masterpieces of American Indian design as well as representative of the deep bonds of affection uniting Kiowa families (est. $60/90,000). Cradles such as this were often made by an aunt or other female relative for a new child and signified joy and solidarity at the coming of new life.

A Rare Crow Beaded And Quill-Wrapped Horsehair Hide Blanket Strip, the first of its kind to appear in a Sotheby’s auction, is decorated with four rosettes made using a rare and beautiful technique of decoration known as quill-wrapped horse hair (est. $60/90,000). These marks of prestige are made using dyed porcupine quills which are wrapped around bundles of horsehair.

Western Paintings
The sale will also feature a strong selection of significant paintings by several of the most important American artists working in the Western genre. Among the highlights is Arizona Dam by Ernest Blumenschien, a stunning example of the artist’s ability to capture the particular light and color unique to the dramatic environment of the American West (est. $300/500,000).

Other highlights in the sale include landscapes by Oscar Edmund Berninghaus such as Grand Canyon Stream (est. $12/18,000); The Summer Rain by Fremont F. Ellis (est. 30/50,000); as well as an exceptional nocturne Where Navajos Tend Their Flocks from 1935 by Frank Tenney Johnson (est. $250/350,000).

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