stone, ivory, red inlay, and black colouring, 9.75 x 3.75 x 2.5 in (24.8 x 9.5 x 6.3 cm) not including lucite base
Estimate: $4,500— $6,500
Private Collection, Ottawa.
If this beautiful sculpture does not reveal the hand of Sheokjuk Oqutaq, it possibly reveals his influence or is the work of an unidentified but worthy rival. Standing Man is carved with a remarkable degree of sensitivity, and while not particularly large, the figure is quietly imposing. It's a quiet masterpiece of its type.
While the clothing is fashioned with apparent simplicity it is not shapeless; we get a true sense of the body and the pose underneath. This figure of a young man is not static, it stands at ease - that's a subtle but important distinction. That the mittens and lower portions of the kamiks are fashioned from ivory is a lovely touch. The delicately carved mittens are reminiscent of the beautiful small ivory hands of one of Sheokjuk's masterpieces, Woman Sewing Mitt from c. 1955 . The parka's red inlay trim, too, is a rare and appealing aspect of this particular sculpture .
The ivory face is not exactly in the "typical" style of Sheokjuk - the eyes are pinpoint rather than almond-shaped - however, the nose and the treatment of the hair are in keeping with his style. The young man's facial features - high cheekbones, his brows, and his long, narrow nose - are subtly yet exquisitely rendered.
1. Woman Sewing Mitt, in the Sarick Collection at the AGO, is illustrated in Darlene Wight's Early Masters catalogue, p. 152, and elsewhere.
2. It should be noted that many of Sheokjuk's ivory carvings and several of his stone sculptures have similar incised (but not inlaid) parka designs - blackened in the case of the ivory works. See Darlene Wight's Early Masters exhibition catalogue for several examples.
Reference: Darlene Coward Wight, Early Masters: Inuit Sculpture 1949-1955 (Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2006), pp. 152-161.