ABRAHAM ETUNGAT, R.C.A. (1911-1999) KINNGAIT (CAPE DORSET)
Alighting Bird, c. 1965
stone, 5.75 x 6.25 x 1.5 in (14.6 x 15.9 x 3.8 cm)
Estimate: $2,500— $3,500
Collection of Terry Ryan*, purchased from the artist;
Acquired from the above by a Private Collection,Toronto;
Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto;
Acquired from the above by a Private Collection, Toronto.
*Terry Ryan was arts advisor and general manager of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op in Kinngait for four decades; a good friend of Etungat's, he personally purchased a number of his carvings over the years.
Best known for his elegant birds with thin, upstretched wings commonly known as "Birds of Spring," Etungat actually carved a wide variety of subjects. A consummate craftsman and lover of materials, he strove to bring out not only the most beautiful sculptural forms possible but also best qualities in each piece of stone he worked, be it colour or translucency or texture. Etungat's graceful Alighting Bird is typical of his style in another way as well: Etungat's birds especially are notable for their sense of "display," and look particularly pleasing in silhouette or profile. Many remind us of the beautiful bird forms of Kenojuak's drawings and prints.
Reference: For a similarly posed bird by Etungat see the solo exhibition catalogue Abraham Etungat: Sculpture (Toronto: Images Art Gallery, 1983), unpaginated.