JOHN KAVIK (1897-1993), KANGIQLINIQ (RANKIN INLET)
stone, 5.25 x 17.25 x 8.5 in (13.3 x 43.8 x 21.6 cm)
unsigned (artist and date listed on accompanying Igloo Tag).
Estimate: $6,000— $9,000
An Ottawa Private Collection;
A Montreal Collection.
While there may be more examples, we know of only two other depictions of a seal by Kavik, one of them carved some ten years later (see reference), the other later still. The sculpture is rendered even more remarkable by its unusually large size - if this depicts a seal pup it is life-size! - and its high degree of realism and finish. The sculpture is really quite lovely and even graceful - and although we are huge fans of Kavik's art, those are descriptors that don't usually come to mind. We once saw a large 1950s stone walrus that had been ridden like a pony by generations of children in the collector's family; we can imagine this remarkable seal being enjoyed in the same manner.
Reference: For an example of a considerably smaller Basking Seal by Kavik from c. 1977, see Sandra Dyck and Ingo Hessel, Sanattiaqsimajut: Inuit Art from the Carleton University Art Gallery Collection (Ottawa: CUAG, 2009) cat. 102. Interestingly, that seal lies on its back with its front flippers lying across its chest; its pose looks strangely like that of a sea otter floating on its back.