Attributed to SHEOKJUK OQUTAQ (1920-1982) m., KIMMIRUT/KINNGAIT (LAKE HARBOUR/CAPE DORSET)
Kayaker, mid-late 1940s
ivory, rope, black ink and inlay, 1.75 x 15.75 x 6.25 in (4.4 x 40 x 15.9 cm)
ESTIMATE: $2,500 — $3,500
PRICE REALIZED: $4,800
Ex Collection of Sir Patrick Ashley Cooper (1887-1961).
Major Cooper was Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company from 1931 to 1952, and a director of the Bank of England from 1932-1955. He was the first HBC Governor to have actually travelled in the Arctic in 265 years.
Our strong attribution to the famous ivory carver Sheokjuk is based on the overall fine workmanship and true finesse in the overall execution of the piece, but also more specifically to the style of the figure, in particular the facial features and treatment of the hair. This is the finest, most elegant example we have seen. The kayaker is truly a lovely small sculpture in its own right, its delicacy anticipating Sheokjuk's small carvings of people from the 1950s.
Reference: See Darlene Coward Wight's discussion of Sheokjuk and several illustrations in Early Masters: Inuit Sculpture 1949-1955 (Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2006), pp. 152-161. For similar ivory kayakers see Walker's Auctions, Nov. 2012, Lot 76, and May 2013, Lot 12.