First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art

May 28, 2019

LOT 22

Lot 22


Lot 22 Details
HENRY EVALUARDJUK (1923-2007), E5-846, Frobisher Bay / Iqaluit


signed "Henry" and in syllabics, mid-late 1970's
19 x 5 x 6 in — 48.3 x 12.7 x 15.2 cm

Estimate $7,000-$10,000

Realised: $21,600
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
  • HENRY EVALUARDJUK (1923-2007)
  • HENRY EVALUARDJUK (1923-2007)
  • HENRY EVALUARDJUK (1923-2007)

an Ottawa private collection; Waddington’s June 1981, Lot 480


There are two great carvers of bears in the history of Inuit art: Henry Evaluardjuk and Pauta Saila (see Lot 11). Evaluardjuk never really spoke about his art or his love of bears, but Pauta shared his thoughts about polar bears on several occasions:

Polar bears are playful when there’s nobody around. They’re playful, but you have to look at them without letting them know. They’re playful as long as they don’t see a human around, or the dogs chasing them. (Artist interview with Ingo Hessel in Arctic Spirit, Heard Museum, 2006, p. 90.) Polar bears are just like people. They can do many things that humans do. They can stand or sit, like us. They look around, just like we do. (Artist interview with Dorothy Harley Eber in “Talking with the Artists,” In the Shadow of the Sun, CMC, 1993, p. 425.)

Evaluardjuk typically depicted his bear subjects as lethal hunters, stalking unseen prey, with powerful necks extended. Occasionally he carved them as standing, much as humans do. Only very seldom do they gesture, and we know of only one other example of a small bear seated on a rock. This Waving Polar Bear, along with the two examples referenced below, are rare examples of Evaluardjuk bears with human-like personalities and touches of humour and real charm. Equally extraordinary is the scale of this work, one of the largest sculptures that this artist ever produced.

References: for an exceptional standing whale bone Gesturing Bear by Evaluardjuk see Walker’s May 2012, Lot 47. For a similarly fine but much smaller work by the artist see Walker’s May 2018, Lot 1. For a large example of a walking bear by Evaluardjuk see Walker’s Nov. 2017, Lot 91.

First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art Auction


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 22

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.