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Inuit Art Auction - Tuesday 22 November 2016 at 1 p.m.
Fall 2016 Inuit Art Auction
One of the privileges and beneﬁts of being an auction specialist is having the frequent opportunity to meet new collectors, and being granted a brief glimpse into their lives and histories. As an auction specialist, we are exposed to many interesting characters: some collecting out of passion for the art, others acquiring works as relics and reminders of their own experiences either living or travelling in the north. Some inherited their collections from loved ones. Then there are those that know little about the artist or art form, and have simply acquired a work out of pure attraction for the individual object. Over the years, these interactions have instilled in me an immense appreciation for the role the art collector plays both as expert and as visionary.
It can be argued that their contribution is as integral to the art ecosystem as that of the art institution, or the art dealer. Robert Swain acknowledged collectors as “very important to the cultural life of any nation” and that they bring “a wealth of experience, concentrated exposure to the art, a honed vision that separates at a glance the merely unusual from the truly signiﬁcant”(1). Certainly, the collectors in the following pages of this catalogue ﬁt this description. Aestheticist and academic Francis Sparshott contemplated the nature of the collector and his impact on art, and explained simply that for the collector “serious interest will go to the genres and artists he gets to know well and to love as one loves a friend.” Who among us cannot relate to that sentiment? This is clearly evident when collectors present their pieces to me with as much aﬀection as they would a pet or family member.
We must acknowledge collectors as curators in their own right, for we would not have the exposure to the carefully crafted collections and individual masterpieces that we do now without their expertise. Collecting is not without risk or error, and there are no "sure things" when it comes to acquiring art; and yet even with this knowledge the collector forges ahead. As is the case with many Inuit art collectors, the vision that they share with the world via their buying habits and preferences helps to shape what we have come to know as acceptable or legitimate art, and in a way grants permission to others to follow suit. This catalogue pays homage to those collectors, for it is because of their sensitivity, curiosity and foresight that these pieces have been brought together. I hope you will see the obvious cohesion and complementary elements of these particular collections and even detect a little of the person or people that loved and cared for the works for many years. These people embrace their role as temporary custodians of these fascinating objects and images, and wish above all else for their art to ﬁnd new homes and admirers when the time comes for them to part with them. I am conﬁdent that, from this superb group of collections, all of you, from the veteran to the novice collector and to everyone in between, will ﬁnd something that draws you in, connects with you on some level and for a time becomes a part of your life. Christa Ouimet Senior Inuit Art Specialist