The Canada Auction Series: Inuit Art
May 27 — June 01, 2023
Auction begins to close at 7:00 pm ET
Pauta Saila ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009)
Lot 175 Details
Pauta Saila ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009), Kinngait (Cape Dorset)
DANCING BEAR, CA. 1972
signed in Roman and syllabics; accompanied by an original photograph of the artist and the present lot, photograph inscribed "Pauta "Dancing Bear" Cape Dorset / 1972 / Pictured carving as [sic] same as here"
14.5 x 8.5 x 4 in — 36.8 x 21.6 x 10.2 cm
Private Collection, Ontario, acquired directly from the artist;
By descent to the present Private Collection, Ontario
With impeccable provenance, this Dancing Bear comes accompanied by a photograph of the artist holding this sculpture, as well as with a story of its origins during a trip to Kinngait:
“In the 1970s my mother, brother and I visited Cape Dorset. My brother and I were in our early teens and I think our youth helped us gain access to private residences. We visited the homes of Kenojuak and her husband Johnniebo as well as Pauta Saila, Lucy Qinnuayuak, Pitseolak Ashoona, and so on. I was astonished to see Kenojuak (and others) using magic markers to make their fabulous drawings. Sitting at her kitchen table, smoking Export and drawing. We bought a few drawings outright from a couple of the artists, but as a show of support for the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative we were selective and careful. We didn’t purchase any sculpture because we had to fly back and stone is heavy in a suitcase. However, toward the end of our stay Pauta suddenly showed up at the door of the Transient Centre where we were staying carrying the Dancing Bear that you now see in the auction. My mother loved it and he was happy to sell it to us and allowed my brother to take a picture of him with the carving.”
In this iteration of the subject, the artist carefully manipulated the piece of stone so as to position a lighter-coloured seam at the pad of the bear’s bottom foot. Combined with the undulating shape of the animal’s legs and finely sculpted ears, the bear is a particularly fine example of Pauta’s 1970s-era sculpture.