The Canada Auction Series: Inuit Art

May 27June 01, 2023
Auction begins to close at 7:00 pm ET

Online Auction
LOT 117

Lot 117

Pauta Saila ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009)

Pauta Saila ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009)
Lot 117 Details
Pauta Saila ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009), Kinngait (Cape Dorset)


stone, ivory
signed in syllabics
21.5 x 13 x 7 in — 54.6 x 33 x 17.8 cm

Estimate $20,000-$30,000

Realised: $19,680
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
Pauta Saila ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009)
  • Pauta Saila ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009)
  • Pauta Saila ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009)
  • Pauta Saila ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009)
  • Pauta Saila ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009)
  • Pauta Saila ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009)

Private Collection, Beverly Hills, CA


A heavyweight among Pauta’s bears, this sculpture reaches a height of over 21 inches—among the largest sold at Waddington’s. The artist was renowned for the simplified lines and pleasing sense of proportion in his work, well exemplified here.

Though the artist revisited the theme of Dancing Bears often, each iteration possesses its own individual character. Some impress with their width, verve, or the looseness of their motion. This particular bear is lithe and tightly coiled, as if preparing for the dance rather than in full frolic.

Like his audience, Pauta clearly enjoyed the various nuances of his creations, explaining:

“I carve bears with longer and shorter necks, some that are fat or lean. They are in different positions because bears are always doing something. Sudden moves are possible with shorter necks. Polar bears are like human beings. If they are not distracted they can see better, even when they move fast…I like to carve what I feel, not merely what I see. It is the feeling that goes along with whatever one is doing. I also think about the material, the stone. I like to think how to carve it so that it does not break. I do what the Creator wants me to do, not merely by seeing but by feeling too. Carving is very different from making a photograph. I think and feel that the bear has a spirit to be put into the carving. But each person has different thoughts when he is carving.

Today I am not worrying about making an amulet or a charm. I have to be pleased with what I am doing as does the person who is asking for the carving. I have to please myself and the buyer. At times I feel like keeping some of my carvings. In fact I have even said good-bye to some.”

Bernadette Driscoll, Uumajut, Animal Imagery in Inuit Art, (Winnipeg: The Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1985), p. 46

Many countries prohibit or restrict importation or exportation of property containing ivory, whale bone, sealskin, and/or products derived from other endangered or protected species, and require special licenses or permits in order to import or export such property. It is the responsibility of the buyer to ensure that the item is properly and lawfully exported / imported. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialists for further details.


Overall very good condition. Minute losses around perimeter of one paw.

Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

LOT 117

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.