alder, cedar bark, hair, abalone, and paint, 8 x 9 x 6 in (20.3 x 22.9 x 15.2 cm) excluding hair
signed and dated, "FREDA D. /1973";
inscribed, "Old Woman with Labret / Carved from alderwood / Freda Diesing / 1973".
ESTIMATE: $5,000 — $7,000
PRICE REALIZED: $33,600
Collection of Dr. George and Mrs. Joanne MacDonald, Cantley, Quebec, purchased from the artist;
Estate of Dr. George MacDonald.
A strikingly similar mask by Diesing from 1974, in the collection of the Royal BC Museum, was included in two major exhibitions: the 1998 travelling exhibition Down from the Shimmering Sky organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery (see reference), and the 2019 U.S. travelling show Hearts of our People: Native Women Artists organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Traditionally most Haida masks, even portrait masks, were used by members of secret societies. Perhaps Diesing's marvellous portrait mask is in the spirit of a fascinating mask of the same type by Simeon Stiltla, carved at Masset before 1884, in the collection of the Canadian Museum of History - a mask almost surely made for sale as well.
Reference: See the Simeon Stiltla mask in George MacDonald, Haida Art (Vancouver/Gatineau: D&M/Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1996) plate 55.