Bonhams : EDWARD WARREN SAWYER, GALVANO OF CHIEF-TJA-YO-NI NAVAJO
EDWARD WARREN SAWYER, GALVANO OF CHIEF-TJA-YO-NI NAVAJO

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Lot 264
EDWARD WARREN SAWYER, GALVANO OF CHIEF-TJA-YO-NI NAVAJO

Sold for US$ 2,574 inc. premium

Coins and Medals

5 Jun 2017, 18:00 PDT

Los Angeles

EDWARD WARREN SAWYER, GALVANO OF CHIEF-TJA-YO-NI NAVAJO
70 mm diameter, 93 mm diameter with frame. CHIEF-TJA-YO-NI NAVAJO around. At bottom left, GANADADO/ARIZONA/SAWYER/1904. One of the most famous medal series, but also one that no collector owns, is the series of Indian bas-relief portraits by sculptor Edward Warren Sawyer. The series is known simply as "Sawyer's Indians." They are known only in museums!

Sculptor Edward Warren Sawyer (1876-1932) in the early years of the 20th century traveled to the American West to live among the tribes of the American Indians. His goal was to capture portraits of prominent Indians. This was not an easy task as the Indians believed such reproductions also captured their spirit, thus they disliked, even prohibited, being photographed. Sawyer had to first gain their confidence – by living amongst them – then gently urging his chosen model to sit for him. Perhaps that action didn't seem to extract the sprit from the body he was modeling with his clay. It was not like a photograph. His subject could see the slow progress in replicating his features and his adornment in the slowly mounting clay. The result is a body of work unlike any other in American history or portraiture! Sawyer captured more than forty Indian images in highly realistic glyptic detail. They are preserved in two American museums – The Smithsonian Institution in their Numismatic Division Collections, and the American Numismatic Society – but notably, neither has the complete series,

Both examples offered are extremely rare and should be closely examined by the interested specialist.
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