Loloma Collection Goes ‘White Glove’ at Santa Fe Art Auction

This dinner [Navajo] rare turquoise and silver Squash Blossom Lander necklace from the Connie S. Sanchez estate, California, circa 1970, fetched $23,180 and was the top lot on the two-day sale. The 14½-inch-long necklace contained approximately 90 carats of rare Lander turquoise, prized for its cobweb matrix and considered the most valuable turquoise known.

Review by WA Demers, Photos Courtesy Santa Fe Art Auction

SANTA FE, NM – Mid-August was a busy one for the Santa Fe Art Auction. The company held its Native American Arts sale on August 12-13, coinciding with the Indian Market to celebrate various arts Native Americans, and she participated in the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) charity event commemorating the 60th anniversary of the IAIA on August 17, when an auction of collaborative and individual works of art by Distinguished Contemporary Indigenous Artists was organized to raise critical funds for IAIA scholarships.

With over 500 lots ranging from 19th century to contemporary pottery, textiles, katsinam, jewellery, baskets and paintings, a particular highlight of the two-day sale was the company’s continued presentation to the market. of approximately 165 lots from the Georgia and Charles Loloma collection. , which was granted “white glove” status. The first batch of the first day of the sale was a Dine [Navajo] rare Lander turquoise and silver Squash Blossom necklace, circa 1970, which fetched $23,180 from a collector in Wichita, Kan. From the Connie S. Sanchez estate in California, the 14½-inch-long necklace had approximately 90 carats of Lander turquoise and a total weight of 7.4 ounces. Lander blue is prized for its cobweb turquoise and is considered the most valuable turquoise known, with colors ranging from medium to dark blue and a contrasting black matrix.

A polychrome Zia storage jar, circa 1900, was one of the highlights of the second day of the sale, fetching $12,200. From the Paul Rhetts collection in New Mexico, it was 17½ inches high and 19 inches in diameter. Also on the second day, a polychrome jar by Fannie Nampeyo (1900-1987), 1935, was listed for $8,750. It is from a private collection in Texas and features a vibrant design in orange, black and white on clay. It was inscribed on its underside “Nampeyo/Fannie” for the modern and contemporary fine arts potter, who carried on the traditions of her famous mother, Nampeyo of Hano, the great matriarch of modern Hopi pottery. It was 8-7/8 inches high and 13-1/8 inches in diameter.

Bolo ties are a quintessential accessory of Southwestern Native Americans. A Carl and Irene Clark bolo tie in yellow gold and micro-mosaic inlay sold for $10,980. Navajo artisans are part of large families that nurture the art with weavers, carvers, painters, and jewelry artists. Carl was born in Winslow, Arizona, in 1952; Irene was born in Bird Springs, Arizona in 1950. Carl was self-taught in 1973, then taught Irene in 1974. They experimented with Navajo style, Hopi layering, and Zuni marquetry. The inlay progressed from fine to finer, then to what it is today, a micro-fine inlay. Their jewels are presented in 20 books. This bolo tie, 22K yellow gold, turquoise, lapis, sugilite, coral and opal, is encrusted with a Yei figure, a mythical figure that symbolizes various healing powers.

A polychrome Zia storage jar, circa 1900, was one of the highlights of the second day of the sale, fetching $12,200.

From the Georgia and Charles Loloma Collection, the silver and turquoise ketoh, circa 1970s, by jeweler Dine Kenneth Begay (1913-1977) went for $9,150. It was suede, turquoise and silver, its underside was marked “KB” and weighed 4½ ounces. Ketoh is a Navajo word for bow guard, which is a protective forearm wrap designed to protect an archer from the recoil of a bowstring after the arrow is released. Navajo ketohs include a protective leather band adorned with silver embellishments.

Fetching $7,320 was a group of three ketohs from Charles Loloma’s collection. They dated from the 1920s to the 1980s, one being a silver and embossed leather fender, another in silver, turquoise and leather, and a third in carved fossilized bone and leather.

Four separate lots from the sale each fetched a final price of $7,900. One, a ceramic pot from Santo Domingo dating from 1870, its fired clay augmented with pigments and skin. From a private collection in New Mexico, its measurements were 14 by 20 by 20 inches. Another was a carved Haida argillite pipe, circa 1890, 3 x 8¾ x 1-1/8 inches, also from a private collection in New Mexico. The other two were jewelry, one a two-row pueblo-style turquoise tab necklace with gold ends attributed to Charles Loloma, the other a Kenneth Begay silver ring with a turquoise stone from the Georgia and Charles Loloma collection .

Reached after the sale, which totaled $712,000 with a 92% sale, the company’s president and CEO, Gillian Blitch, said she was very pleased with the continued strength of the Loloma material. “We were able to acquire the rough and polished stones from the Loloma workshop,” Blitch said, with specific plans for the material to be announced later.

The next Santa Fe Art Auction sale will take place on September 23-24 and its Signature sale on November 4-5. The prices shown include the buyer’s commission as quoted by the auction house. For information, 505-954-5858 or


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