First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art

May 28, 2019

LOT 31

Lot 31

JOHN PANGNARK (1920-1980)

JOHN PANGNARK (1920-1980)
Lot 31 Details
JOHN PANGNARK (1920-1980), E1-104, Eskimo Point / Arviat


signed in syllabics
3.25 x 1.5 x 2 in — 8.3 x 3.8 x 5.1 cm

Estimate $1,500-$2,500

Realised: $5,520
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
JOHN PANGNARK (1920-1980)
  • JOHN PANGNARK (1920-1980)
  • JOHN PANGNARK (1920-1980)
  • JOHN PANGNARK (1920-1980)
  • JOHN PANGNARK (1920-1980)

a Quebec private collection; purchased in Arviat in 1968 by the current owner


this work is illustrated in George Swinton’s classic Sculpture of the Inuit (McClelland & Stewart, 1972/92), fig. 621.

Figure with Raised Arms is one of two small masterpieces much admired by George Swinton at the home of the collector who had purchased them in Arviat in 1968 and 1969 respectively. He had them both photographed and published in his landmark 1972 book Sculpture of the Inuit. The companion piece was Lucy Tasseor’s Mother and Child (Swinton, 1972/92) fig. 609 (also ill. in Walker’s May 2018, Lot 86). Tasseor’s work was quite small (4.75 in high); Figure with Raised Arms is even smaller, making it a true miniature. Pangnark’s sculptures were generally quite modest in scale – most can be picked up and caressed in the hand – but he carved relatively few miniatures.

This small gem is a transitional work in Pangnark’s stylistic evolution. The artist was still experimenting with his harder-edged geometric compositions, but was taking the first steps towards a shift to a softer, more minimalist aesthetic. Figure with Raised Arms is still easily recognizable as just that; the human proportions and simple, evocative gesture are clear. We do not need to search for clues that this is a human subject, yet all extraneous detail has been quietly, effortlessly stripped away. Like the carving by Tasseor, this work is perfection.

First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art Auction


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 31

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.