Inuit Art

Auction begins to close:
May 13, 2021 at 8:00 pm ET

Online Auction
LOT 35

Lot 35

JOHNNY INUKPUK, R.C.A. (1911-2007)

JOHNNY INUKPUK, R.C.A. (1911-2007)
Lot 35 Details
JOHNNY INUKPUK, R.C.A. (1911-2007), Port Harrison / Inukjuak


signed in syllabics, disc number inscribed, ca. 1970
17 x 14.5 x 6.5 in — 43.2 x 36.8 x 16.5 cm

Estimate $25,000-$35,000

Realised: $31,200
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
JOHNNY INUKPUK, R.C.A. (1911-2007)
  • JOHNNY INUKPUK, R.C.A. (1911-2007)
  • JOHNNY INUKPUK, R.C.A. (1911-2007)
  • JOHNNY INUKPUK, R.C.A. (1911-2007)
  • JOHNNY INUKPUK, R.C.A. (1911-2007)

Private Collection, Toronto, ON


How many artworks can you think about that are about surprise? Excluding the wonderment we feel when we see something great, astonishment and awe are in short supply in art. Johnny Inukpuk’s “Girl Uncovers a Hibernating Bear” immediately startles, sending a thrill through the viewer as we imagine ourselves stumbling upon a sleeping predator. Adding to the suspense—yikes!—the bear’s eyes are open! What would we do? And more importantly, what happens next?

Inukpuk’s sculpture is akin to a movie still, a paused moment in an action film or a chase sequence. The artist has rendered his subject in great detail, outlining the strands of her plaited hair, the fringe on her coat, the creases on her skin. Her hands are larger than life, drawing attention to their surprised gesture. Inukpuk’s model for this carving is most likely his wife Mary, identifiable by her cleft lip, which is visible in this sculpture. Perhaps this was created to depict a particular episode in Mary’s life, making this sculpture somewhat of a family album, or perhaps the most exquisite response to a familiar question: “how was your day, honey?”


Good condition, no visible issues to report.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and mandated government restrictions, Waddington’s regrets that we are unable to make lots from this auction available for pre-auction, in-person inspection. This condition report has been prepared by Waddington’s as a courtesy and has been provided for guidance only. The Lot is offered in the condition it is in at the time of sale. Any reference to condition in the report for the Lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the Lot form part of the condition report for the Lot provided by Waddington’s. Please note, certain images of the Lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the Lot and may represent colours and shades which are different to the Lot’s actual colour and shades. Waddington’s specialists are not professional conservators or restorers and the report set forth is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Waddington’s. Prospective buyers should bear in mind that this report will not disclose any imperfections which may only be revealed during the course of subsequent restoration. Buyers are reminded that Waddington’s warranties with respect to any property are limited as set forth in the Conditions of Sale and do not extend to condition.

LOT 35

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.