CAPTAIN ANDREW BROWN (1879-1962), HAIDA, MASSET, HAIDA GWAII
Totem Pole, c. 1910-30
argillite, 10.5 x 2.75 x 2.25 in (26.7 x 7 x 5.7 cm)
Estimate: $2,500 — $3,500
An American Private Collection;
Walker's, Ottawa, May 2013, Lot 300;
Acquired from the above by the present Private Collection, Toronto.
"Captain" Andrew Brown's Haida name was Owt'iwans, inherited from his grandfather. He was an Eagle of the Gitins division from Yan, and so frequently used the eagle crest. His English given name was Andrew Brown, and he was given the nickname "Captain" because he was a skilled boat-builder and shipper. He was widely known as a storyteller and humorist.
Brown's early carving was influenced by the work of Charles Edenshaw, and he was active for several decades - at least until around 1940, when his eyesight began to fade. Brown's style is typified by intricate detail, stippled or cross-hatched texturing, turned-down mouths, and pointy noses, sometimes slightly upturned. This pole has a bear-man at the top, holding a disc above an eagle above a beaver holding a stick in his mouth. Note that between the wings of the eagle are four potlatch rings.
References: For the section on Captain Andrew Brown see Marius Barbeau, Haida Carvers in Argillite (Ottawa: National Museum of Canada, 1957/1974), pp. 203-209. For a brief discussion of the artist see Leslie Drew and Douglas Wilson, Argillite: Art of the Haida (North Vancouver: Hancock House, 1980), pp. 246-249.