Dat-so-la-lee (Louisa Keyser), 1902, L.K.30, of slightly oval degikup form, finely stitched with vertical design bands of stacked concentric triangles and chevrons in alternating colors. height 9 5/8in, diameter 13 3/8in
Provenance: George Sanford, Nevada; his son Graham Sanford; the Estate of Jean Sanford, Graham's widow; Gene Quintana, Carmichael, CA; the Bayuk Collection
In an accompanying letter of authenticity, Marvin Cohodas writes: "The Washoe degikup pictured below is the work of Louisa Keyser, also known as Dat so la lee, and is registered as L.K.30 in the Cohn register of her baskets. This basket was unsold at the time of Abe Cohn's death in 1934, but after that time was given along with two others to the lawyer, George Sanford, in partial return for settling the estate. When George Sanford left two of the Louisa Keyser baskets to his children, his son Graham Sanford acquired L.K.30, and his daughter acquired another. L.K.30 then remained in the possession of Graham Sanford's widow until her recent death. I saw and published L.K.30 at Mrs. Sanford's home in 1984, but was asked not to publish any photographs as long as she possessed it. L.K.30 is of the 'classic' or characteristic type of shape and design which Louis Keyser used for her major works between 1898 and 1916. Involving rounded shape, fine stitching of around 30 stitches per inch, and either scattered or vertically arranged patterns of small design units. The ovoid shape was a customary departure for her, and it appears as well on L.K.26 presently in the Brooklyn Museum. At the time she wove L.K.30, the large size and fine stitching prevented Louisa Keyser from finishing more than 2-3 per year. However, after 1906, with the production of even larger major pieces, relieved from time to time with the production of minor baskets, Louisa Keyser produced about one major work per year, until her death in 1925. She thus produced only about 40, large major degikup in her period of the Cohn's patronage, of which well over half are in public collections in Carson City, Reno, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and others. Hence few ever appear on the market."
Included in the lot is the original certificate for L.K.30 from the Cohn Emporium, Carson City, Nevada. It states that the basket was four months in the making and with 27 stitches to the inch. Cohn's wife, Amy, named the basket with the fanciful title: "We inherit the right to be free like the birds", a supposed interpretation of the design elements, though likely invented by Cohn herself.
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