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i u a pi pu pa ti tu ta ki ku ka gi gu ga mi mu ma ni nu na si su sa li lu la ji ju ja vi vu va ri ru ra qi qu qa ngi ngu nga lhi lhu lha

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Pilipusi Novalinga



stone, bone, string, unsigned, circa 1950, Condition good.

Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

4 x 3 x 4.5 in — 10.2 x 7.6 x 11.4 cm

Canadian Guild of Crafts, Montreal, QC;
Private Collection, Hamilton, ON

Following a study of the artist Pilipusi Novalinga (1906-1987) in the 2006 book Early Masters: Inuit Sculpture 1949-1955, a series of related early Inukjuak masterpieces have been attributed to the artist. Thirteen known works are cited in the text, six of which are in the possession of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Subsequently, a small additional number of works have been tentatively attributed to the artist by various sources. Of these, we are aware of four sculptures, including the example offered here, that share the subject matter of a seated mother enshrouded in an amauti with a child or children.

A superb work, the sculpture displays a crispness of carving and clarity of form. The squat body of the mother in her amauti is defined in soft billowing rhymes of shape contrasted with the abstract disc-like plane of her hood from which the head emerges, drawing the eye up to the refined features of her face. Two hands composed of bone inserts centre the viewer’s eye on the independently carved and free-hanging figure of a child. Both figures' mouths are ajar, and while the child may be crying, it is unclear if the mother is gasping or singing to soothe her little one.

This remarkable work has been unknown to the market since its original sale by the Canadian Guild of Crafts in Montreal to the current owner.

Related works:

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Cat. No. 2018.102—See:

Waddington’s. 2011. “Pilipusa Novalinga (1906-1987), W2-326, Povungnituk” Accessed October, 16, 2021.

Waddington’s. “Unidentified, Mother and Child”. 2008. Accessed October, 16, 2021.--See:

Walker’s, Walker’s Fine Art & Estate Auctions, “Inuit and First Nations Art”. Ottawa: Walker’s, May, 18, 2017. Lot 116


Wight, D.C. Early Masters: Inuit Sculpture 1949-1955. Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2006. p. 39-44.

Estimate: $4,000—5,000

Auction Results

Auction Date Auction House Lot # Low Est High Est Sold Price
2021-12-09 Waddington's 124 4,000 5,000 12,240.00

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