Animal Planet
The Collection of Wendy and Les Fisher—Chicago's Doctor Dolittle—to Sell in Bonhams Modern Native American Art Sale

Los Angeles - On August 30, Bonhams will sell the Wendy and Les Fisher Collection of Canadian Inuit Sculpture in their Modern Native American Art sale. The collection, which Dr. Lester Fisher – renowned director of the Lincoln Park Zoo and beloved Chicago personality – and his late wife Wendy amassed together throughout their lives, features 98 lots of primarily Inuit art, including wonderful sculptures, prints, and one original drawing. The works mainly center on animals and human-animal transformations as subject matter. Leading the group is a Judas Ullulaq sculpture, a hunter with goggles holding a caribou, carved in stone with wood and bone elements. The work is estimated to achieve $15,000 – 20,000.

Bonhams Director of Native American Art Ingmars Lindbergs commented, "Dr. Les Fisher is really excited to be able to share his beautiful collection of Inuit art with buyers who will enjoy it as much as he and his late wife Wendy did. The phenomenal animal sculptures were arranged throughout the couple's home; they lived with the beloved and beautiful works every day for many years. By that token, the works were also only viewed by their close friends and family members, so the entire collection is wonderfully fresh to market."

Another highlight within the sale is a stone sculpture by Luke Anowtalik, a human-animal transformational figure topped with antlers. This work is estimated at $4,000 – 6,000. And a third sculpture highlight is a piece by Barnabus Arnasungaaq, an abstract muskox with smiling human face in its chest, also a transformation figure. This work is estimated at $1,000 – 1,500.

Dr. Lester Fisher, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday, is a beloved figure among both Chicagoans and animal lovers, best known for his long-time role as director of Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. Dr. Fisher is also a US veteran; in his younger years, he took care of General Patton's bull terrier during WWII. Upon returning from the war, Dr. Fisher took a role as a part-time veterinarian at Lincoln Park Zoo in 1947. His duties and influence at the zoo expanded over the next half century and he was named zoo director in 1962, maintaining the role until his 1992 retirement. In this 30-year tenure, he was transformative to the modern-day concept of a zoo, his main objective being to improve the animals' quality of life. Whereas the animals' cages had once been comparable to jail cells, Dr. Fisher made it his mission to expand the zoological gardens and naturalistic spaces. Dr. Fisher was a champion of conservation as well, beginning an initiative to supply gorilla families to other zoos in the US through the Lincoln Park Zoo mating program. Dr. Fisher became a local celebrity due to his "Ark in the Park" segment on WGN-TV. Within the zoology community, he is still referred to as Chicago's Dr. Dolittle and Mr. Chimps.

Additional highlights include:

Kenojuak Ashevak, C.C., R.C.A., Inuit, Cape Dorset/Kinngait, (b. 1927), "Audacious Owl," 1993, stonecut and stencil on paper under Plexiglas, edition 72/100
Estimate: $3,000-5,000

Kenojuak Ashevak, C.C., R.C.A., Inuit, Cape Dorset/Kinngait, (1927-2013), felt tip drawing on paper under glass, bird with outstretched wings
Estimate: $1,500-2,500

Pudlo Pudlat, Inuit, Cape Dorset/Kinngait, (1916-1992), "Running Rabbit," 1963, stonecut on paper under Plexiglas, edition 21 of 50
Estimate: $1,000-1,500


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