First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art

May 28, 2019

LOT 56

Lot 56

JOE TALIRUNILI (1893-1976)

JOE TALIRUNILI (1893-1976)
Lot 56 Details
JOE TALIRUNILI (1893-1976), E9-818, Povungnituk / Puvirnituq


stone, wood and thread
signed "JOE", c. late 1960s
8.75 x 4 x 2 in — 22.2 x 10.2 x 5.1 cm

Estimate $6,000-$9,000

Realised: $6,000
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
JOE TALIRUNILI (1893-1976)
  • JOE TALIRUNILI (1893-1976)
  • JOE TALIRUNILI (1893-1976)
  • JOE TALIRUNILI (1893-1976)
  • JOE TALIRUNILI (1893-1976)

an Ottawa private collection; Waddington’s Dec. 1982, Lot 318


No two women, men or owls carved by the celebrated Puvirnituq artist Joe Talirunili look the same. He obviously prided himself on imbuing each of his human and animal subjects with a distinctive look and personality. We would not be surprised if Talirunili’s carvings of people are in fact portraits. This fine example is relatively large, quite elegant, and truly charming.

One of the most important jobs for a woman in traditional times was collecting water for her camp; this was especially challenging in winter. Inuit women also used skin pails for a variety of purposes including food gathering. Given Talirunili’s penchant for using found materials to fashion implements, it is interesting to note that he carved the woman’s pail from stone. The implement she carries in her other hand is not precisely ulu-shaped, so perhaps it is another utensil; a woman illustrated in Myers’ book (p. 29) carries a pail and a similar paddle-shaped tool.

References: several examples of standing women by Talirunili are reproduced in the landmark monograph by Marybelle Myers, Joe Talirunili: “a grace beyond the reach of art” (FCNQ, 1977).

First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art Auction


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 56

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.