The Canada Auction Series: Inuit Art

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

Online Auction
LOT 163

Lot 163

Osuitok Ipeelee ᐅᓱᐃᑐ ᐃᐱᓕ, RCA (1923-2005)

Osuitok Ipeelee ᐅᓱᐃᑐ ᐃᐱᓕ, RCA (1923-2005)
Lot 163 Details
Osuitok Ipeelee ᐅᓱᐃᑐ ᐃᐱᓕ, RCA (1923-2005), Kinngait (Cape Dorset)


stone, antler
signed in Roman and syllabics
11.5 x 7.5 x 3.5 in — 29.2 x 19.1 x 8.9 cm

Estimate $8,000-$12,000

Realised: $7,872
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
Osuitok Ipeelee ᐅᓱᐃᑐ ᐃᐱᓕ, RCA (1923-2005)
  • Osuitok Ipeelee ᐅᓱᐃᑐ ᐃᐱᓕ, RCA (1923-2005)
  • Osuitok Ipeelee ᐅᓱᐃᑐ ᐃᐱᓕ, RCA (1923-2005)
  • Osuitok Ipeelee ᐅᓱᐃᑐ ᐃᐱᓕ, RCA (1923-2005)
  • Osuitok Ipeelee ᐅᓱᐃᑐ ᐃᐱᓕ, RCA (1923-2005)
  • 3D Image

Private Collection, Seattle, WA


James Houston writes that Osuitok was the "keeper of the carving stone" for his community, helping to select and quarry the raw materials for use in sculptural work. In guiding others, he gained an innate knowledge of the way stone might fracture or break, facilitating the intimate awareness of carving that allowed him to make such slender and graceful sculptures.

The artist details his own practice thusly: “When I’m doing a caribou, I first make the outline of the animal starting with the muzzle, the nose, and then I work my way down to the body. Then I work on the leg areas. The standing caribou are more difficult than the kneeling ones. I work with files when I am doing the legs and ears. The ears are the last thing I do because they tend to break off. So I finish with those.

I don’t use the grinder to make the form because sometimes there are areas that you tend to cut into too deeply, something you’re not supposed to do. I prefer to use an axe and a saw. Also I use files that you use for steel (rasps) and then I switch to files for the finer work.

For balancing I make sure the base is smooth and flat so that the caribou doesn’t tip to the front or side. I just make sure that the bottom of the hooves is perfectly level. I use a level like carpenters use in construction work. I make sure the base is a little bit thick before I start to get it level."

Waddington’s is pleased to offer two of Osuitok’s caribou in this auction, the dramatic lot 163, and the more serene lot 164.

Susan Gustavison, Northern Rock Contemporary Inuit Stone Sculpture, (Kleinburg: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1999), 64


Overall very good condition. Some fine marks inherent to sculpture. Irregularities inherent in stone. Minute artist generated application of fill on left side oblique.

Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

LOT 163

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.