“Owl” Ca. 1964 by Pauta Saila

By: Dara Vandor

Lot 208 – Pauta Saila ᐸᐅᑕ ᓯᓚ, RCA (1916-2009), Kinngait (Cape Dorset). OWL, CA. 1964; stone; signed in Roman.14.5 x 12 x 6.5 in — 36.8 x 30.5 x 16.5 cm. Estimate $3,000-$4,000

Pauta Saila settled in Kinngait (Cape Dorset) later in life, when he was in his mid-40s. He became involved with the Cape Dorset Co-op not long after, and his works were included in some of the earliest Cape Dorset Annual Print Collections.

Though best known for his sculpture of bears, the owl was an important early motif for Pauta, one which he represented in both two- and three-dimensional works. One of his first contributions to the Cape Dorset release was a print of an owl published in 1962 (which can be viewed on page 16). Owl prints by Pauta were included in the Cape Dorset release every year subsequently until 1969.

It is easy to see the link between Pauta’s owls in print and this sculpture. A stonecut and an etching, both titled Owl and both made the same year as this sculpture, show similar aesthetic choices: the sturdy and wide-eyed bird perched on curled, almost spidery talons. It is as if the graphic images were carved into life in this sculpture.

Of interest to collectors will be the age of this sculpture, dating to the earliest years of Pauta’s celebrated career, before he became known for his Dancing Bears. The stone is also remarkable, wonderfully dense and almost matte, absorbing light more than reflecting it.

For another early sculpture by the artist, please see lot 156, an early example of a Dancing Bear, circa 1965.


Waddington’s is pleased to present our major spring auction of exceptional Inuit & First Nations Art, online May 24-29. Important artworks this season include sculpture and graphics by Karoo Ashevak, Jessie Oonark, Kiakshuk, John Pangnark, Pauta Saila, Aisa Qupirualu Alasua, Parr, Osuitok Ipeelee, Kiugak Ashoona, Joe Talirunili, John Kavik, Kenojuak Ashevak, Johnny Inukpuk, Thomas Ugjuk, Ennutsiak, Davidialuk Alasua Amittu, Beau Dick, Charlie James, David Ruben Piqtoukun, Abraham Apakark Anghik, Manasie Akpaliapik, Judas Ullulaq, Barnabus Arnasungaaq, and John Tiktak.

Browse the online gallery.

Previews will be available at our Toronto gallery, located at 275 King Street East, Second Floor, Toronto:

Thursday, May 23 from 10 am to 5 pm
Friday, May 24 from 10 am to 5 pm
Saturday, May 25 from 12 pm to 4 pm
Sunday, May 26 from 12 pm to 4 pm
Monday, May 27 from 10 am to 5 pm
Tuesday, May 28 from 10 am to 5 pm
Or by appointment.

Please contact us for more information.

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