Dancing Bear
Important Collection of Inuit Sculpture Offered at Bonhams Los Angeles

Los Angeles – In a live 'behind-closed-doors' auction on May 1, Bonhams will offer the Marian and John "Scotty" Scott Collection of Inuit Art in Traditional and Individual: Modern Native American Art sale. All of the estate's proceeds from the sale of this collection will be bequeathed to the Inuit Art Foundation (IAF) in Toronto, Canada, the only national organization dedicated to supporting Inuit artists working in all media and geographic areas.

Assembled between the years of 1966 and 1988, this collection comprises 27 sculptures by various artists in a range of styles and subjects and includes six polar bears of various sizes and stances by noted sculptor Pauta Saila (R.C.A., 1916 – 2009). Often referred to as "dancing bears", the group ranges from a diminutive 4 ½ inches (estimate $3,000-5,000) to a monumental 22 ½ inches in height (estimate $20,000-40,000), one of the largest known examples of Saila's bears to ever come to auction.

Ingmars Lindbergs, Bonhams Director of Native American Art, commented: "The exuberant posture of these bears superbly captures Saila's mastery of the medium. When interviewed about the subject in 2004, Saila stated: 'Polar bears are playful when there's nobody around. They're playful, but you have to look at them without letting them know... I've never taken any pictures, it just stayed in my memory when I saw the polar bears dancing...' The collection includes other powerful works by notable artists, such as Jonasie Quarqortok Faber's defensive circle of muskoxen and George Arluk's semi-abstract dancing male."

Other highlights in the sale include:

Lot 42 Nathan Youngblood, (b. 1954), carved blackware pottery platter, length 15 1/2in, width 12 1/4in - $3,000/5,000

Lot 60 - Tony Abeyta, (b. 1965), "Shield Dancers," 1991, acrylic, oil, sand and gold leaf on canvas, height 96 1/2in, width 144 1/2in - $7,000/10,000

Lot 71 - John Nieto, (1936-2018), "Sioux Warrior," 1987, acrylic on canvas, height 72in, width 60in - $5,000/7,000
Lot 84 - Denise Wallace, (b. 1957), "Fetish Necklace", 1992, sterling silver, fossil walrus ivory and 14K gold, maximum necklace length 15 1/2in - $30,000/40,000

Lot 92 - Eveli Sabati, (b. 1940), silver and turquoise mosaic cuff bracelet, width 2 3/4in, 165.4 grams - $15,000/20,000


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