Inuit and First Nations Art

Auction begins to close:
November 30, 2023 at 7:00 pm ET

Online Auction
LOT 154

Lot 154

James Archibald Houston, OC, FRSA (1921-2005)

James Archibald Houston, OC, FRSA (1921-2005)
Lot 154 Details
James Archibald Houston, OC, FRSA (1921-2005), Canadian


12 x 8.5 in — 30.5 x 21.6 cm

Estimate $3,000-$6,000

Realised: $6,027
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
James Archibald Houston, OC, FRSA (1921-2005)
  • James Archibald Houston, OC, FRSA (1921-2005)

The Collection of Terry Ryan;
Private Collection, Ontario


An important early Kinngait artist, little is known about the life of Niviaqsi (once commonly known as Niviaksiak). Although a relatively small number of works are attributed to the artist, Niviaqsi’s graphics and refined sculptures are among the most prized by many collectors. This rendering by James Houston may be the only confirmed portrait of the artist, and is the original print block used to produce the 1959 print.

For almost 50 years Terry Ryan was the art advisor and general manager of the West Baffin Co-operative (WBEC). Much like his predecessor and fellow Ontario College of Art graduate James Houston, Ryan had a passion for the Arctic and its people, with whom he lived for the better part of his life. Speaking of Ryan in his 2017 obituary in The Globe and Mail, John Westren of Dorset Fine Arts said of Ryan that he dedicated himself to the task of supporting the co-op: “it was his whole life. He was one of those old-fashioned men of integrity.” (1)

Ryan was passionate about the art, and worked closely with nearly all of the early, now-celebrated Kinngait artists. Selections from the Terry Ryan collection were offered by Waddington’s in 2019 and again in 2020. We are pleased to be able to offer an additional installment of important works from Ryan’s collection.

1. Stoffman, Judy. “The godfather of Inuit art.” The Globe and Mail. September 17, 2017.


Overall very good condition. Some loss to material on bottom half of left edge. Minor imperfections.

Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

LOT 154

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.