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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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Allen Sapp, R.C.A.

Cree

(1929-2015)

First Name: Allen

Last Name: Sapp

Full Name: Allen Fredrick Sapp

Alternative Names: Kiskayetum (meaning “he perceives it”)

Date of birth: January 2, 1928

Place of birth: Red Pheasant Reserve, North Battleford, Saskatchewan

Date of death:  December 29, 2015

Place of death: North Battleford, Saskatchewan

Community / Heritage: Cree

Sex: Male

Website: https://www.allensapp.com

Art Media: Acrylic, canvas, oil.

Bio:

Allen Sapp was a Canadian Cree painter. He was born to Alex and Agnes Sapp in 1928 at the Red Pheasant Reserve near North Battleford, Saskatchewan. From a young age, Sapp was raised by his maternal grandparents, Albert and Maggie Soonias. By 1945, four of Sapp’s seven siblings had died and his mother passed away from tuberculosis. As a child, Sapp was often sick and frequently bedridden. During this period of illness, Sapp was given a new powerful Cree name, “Kiskayetum” (“he perceives it”). He never learned to read or write, and would spend long hours sketching and drawing in bed.  His grandmother encouraged his creativity and love of drawing; their relationship would play a significant role in his life and artistic development. 

In 1955, Sapp married Margaret Paskemin Whitford. She would spend several years in the Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Prince Albert, where she would give birth to their son David in 1957. After the death of Sapp’s grandparents in 1963, the couple moved to North Battleford where they rented the upper storey of a house. Sapp became interested in pursuing a career as a professional artist. To make ends meet, he worked part-time at a craft store while painting in the evenings.

In 1966, Sapp met Dr. Allan Gonor at the medical clinic in North Battleford. Dr. Gonor immediately recognized Sapp’s talent and encouraged him to paint what he knew: his memories of his childhood and life on the Red Pheasant Reserve. Sapp entered an intensely productive period of his career, painting one or two paintings a night. 

Dr. Gonor continued to mentor Sapp and helped him develop connections with other art professionals. Wynona Mulcaster, an art professor at the University of Saskatchewan, encouraged Sapp and advised him on content and technique. In September of 1968, Mulcaster invited Sapp to show his paintings at her home in Saskatoon. The show was a great success. Seven months later, Sapp held a show of 61 oils and acrylics at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon; the exhibition was a success critically and financially. Within the next five years, the artist had several shows in England, Canada and the United States. 

By 1974, Sapp found commercial success and widespread attention. He became the subject of a book “Portrait of the Plains” by then-Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, Grant MacEwan. His life and art were also the subject of a CBC and a National Film Board documentary. He met with a number of important people, including Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Princess Margaret, to whom he presented one of his paintings.

In 1975, he was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In 1980, the book “A Cree Life: The Art of Allen Sapp” was released and became a Canadian bestseller. On December 5, 1985, Sapp became one of the first recipients of the Saskatchewan Award of Merit. In 1986–1987, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. 

In 1989, The City of North Battleford opened a public art gallery in honour of Dr. Allan Gonor and Allen Sapp. A donation of Sapp’s paintings by Gonor and his wife comprise the foundation of the collection.

Sapp married Margaret Berryman in 1990. They lived together until her death in 2011. Sapp himself passed away on Tuesday, December 29, 2015, in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Exhibitions

  • 1969: Robertson Galleries
  • 1969: Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon
  • 1989: The Gonor Collection, North Battleford, SK
  • 1998: The Frontier's Edge Prairie Art Gallery, Grande Prairie AB
  • 1997: Claiming Ourselves, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon SK
  • 1996-1997: Kiskayetum, an Allen Sapp Retrospective at the Canadian Museum of Civilization Hull, PQ - travelling exhibition

Publications

  • 1971: "By Instinct A Painter", film documentary, CBC
  • 1977: "A Cree Life: The Art of Allen Sapp", John Anson Warner and Thecla Bradshaw
  • 1973: "Colours of Pride", film documentary, National Film Board of Canada
  • 1983: "Four Prairie Artists", film documentary, CBC
  • 1989: "Allen Sapp: For Art's Sake", film documentary, STV
  • 1990: "Two Spirits Soar: The Art of Allen Sapp", published by Stoddart
  • 1994: "On the Road Again", CBC
  • 1996: "I Heard the Drums", Allen Sapp, published by Stoddart, three paintings were selected for UNICEF'S card series
  • 2010: Rocky Mountain Outlook

Articles

Awards

  • 1975: Elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
  • 1985: One of the first eight recipients of the Saskatchewan Award of Merit.
  • 1987: Appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.
  • 1996: Recipient of a Lifetime Award for Excellence in the Arts from the Saskatchewan Arts Board.
  • 1998: Awarded with an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Regina.
  • 1999: Recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award.
  • 2003: Received the Governor General's Literary Award for his illustrations in the children's book The Song Within My Heart.
  • 2005: Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award in the First Nations Category: Through the Eyes of the Cree and Beyond: The Art of Allen Sapp – A Story of a People.

Artwork

Title Last Sold At Auction
COLD WINTER 2017-04 (April 2017)
COOKING
DOG BRINGING DUCK IN 2016-05 (May 2016)
PEOPLE GETTING TOGETHER ON STONEY RESERVE
UNTITLED (AFTER SCHOOL PRACTICE) 2015-08 (August 2015)
UNTITLED (BLUE VS RED) 2015-08 (August 2015)
UNTITLED (FUTURE STARS) 2018-11 (November 2018)
UNTITLED (HEADING OUT) 2017-06 (June 2017)
UNTITLED (HUNGRY HORSE) 2017-10 (October 2017)
UNTITLED (MAKING A FIRE FOR THE KIDS) 2018-08 (August 2018)
UNTITLED (PULLING MY LITTLE BROTHER) 2017-06 (June 2017)
A FEW MORE DAYS WORK 2018-11 (November 2018)
AFTER CHRISTMAS ON POUNDMAKER RESERVE 2020-03 (March 2020)
ALMOST HOME WITH A LOAD OF WOOD 2014-10 (October 2014)
BARREL ALMOST FULL 2020-03 (March 2020)
FEEDING THE BABY 2017-03 (March 2017)
FIRST SNOWMAN 2012-11 (November 2012)
GATHERING WOOD WITH TEAM 2012-12 (December 2012)
GOING HUNTING 2013-04 (April 2013)
GRANDMOTHER FEEDING CHICKENS 2017-06 (June 2017)
HAVING FUN AT HOME 2016-08 (August 2016)
LADY GOING TO VISIT 2019-04 (April 2019)
LIL’ BOY WALKING WITH HIS DAD 2018-03 (March 2018)
MAKING FENCE POSTS AT SWEET GRASS RESERVE 2018-07 (July 2018)
MOTHER AND CHILD IN YARD 2014-04 (April 2014)
MY GRANDMOTHER RESTING OUTSIDE 2018-07 (July 2018)
NOT SO COLD TODAY 2017-03 (March 2017)
OPEN CUTTER 2019-04 (April 2019)
SLED PULL 2013-05 (May 2013)
SPRING TIME 2017-03 (March 2017)
THE HOCKEY GAME 2015-10 (October 2015)
THE MEETING PLACE - HORSES AND SLEIGHS
THREE KIDS HAVING FUN 2016-05 (May 2016)
UNTITLED (A WINTER DAY) 2015-09 (September 2015)
UNTITLED (BOY PULLING SLED) 2016-06 (June 2016)
UNTITLED (BOYS SLEDDING) 2016-11 (November 2016)
UNTITLED (CHOPPING FIREWORK WHILE KIDS PLAY) 2019-12 (December 2019)
UNTITLED (COOKING) 2018-02 (February 2018)
UNTITLED (EVENING PLAY) 2015-07 (July 2015)
UNTITLED (FARMERS WITH CARTS) 2017-08 (August 2017)
UNTITLED (FEEDING TIME) 2017-12 (December 2017)
UNTITLED (FIXING THE SLED) 2017-10 (October 2017)
UNTITLED (FUTURE STARS) 2016-09 (September 2016)
UNTITLED (GAME OVER) 2017-10 (October 2017)
UNTITLED (GOING SLEDDING) 2018-08 (August 2018)
UNTITLED (HAULING LOGS IN WINTER) 2019-09 (September 2019)
UNTITLED (HOMEWARD BOUND) 2017-04 (April 2017)
UNTITLED (HUNTERS AND BOY WITH SLED) 2016-08 (August 2016)
UNTITLED (IN FORMATION) 2015-06 (June 2015)
UNTITLED (MOUNTAIN LANDSCAPE) 2017-04 (April 2017)
UNTITLED (POND HOCKEY) 2018-07 (July 2018)
UNTITLED (SETTING THE SNARE) 2017-08 (August 2017)
UNTITLED (TEACHING THE YOUNG) 2018-11 (November 2018)
UNTITLED (THE BALL GAME) 2017-08 (August 2017)
UNTITLED (THE TREE CLIMBER) 2017-05 (May 2017)
UNTITLED (TREE CLIMBER) 2019-11 (November 2019)
UNTITLED (TWIG GATHERERS) 2017-06 (June 2017)
UNTITLED (TWO ON ONE) 2019-11 (November 2019)
UNTITLED (TWO ON TWO) 2016-06 (June 2016)
UNTITLED (WARMING THE STOVE) 2017-02 (February 2017)
UNTITLED (YOUNG BOY WITH SLED AND DOG) 2017-05 (May 2017)
UNTITLED (YOUNG SNOWBALLER) 2017-02 (February 2017)
VISITORS COMING 2018-08 (August 2018)
WAITING ON JOE 2015-10 (October 2015)
WATCHING OVER HORSES 2016-05 (May 2016)

Recent Auction Results

BARREL ALMOST FULL
Estimate: 3,000 — 3,500
Sold: Mar 2020 — Sold For: $3,900
AFTER CHRISTMAS ON POUNDMAKER RESERVE
Estimate: 2,000 — 2,500
Sold: Mar 2020 — Sold For: $4,500
UNTITLED (CHOPPING FIREWORK WHILE KIDS PLAY)
Estimate: 800 — 1,000
Sold: Dec 2019 — Sold For: $1,320
UNTITLED (TWO ON ONE)
Estimate: 800 — 1,000
Sold: Nov 2019 — Sold For: $960
UNTITLED (TREE CLIMBER)
Estimate: 800 — 1,000
Sold: Nov 2019 — Sold For: $2,400
UNTITLED (HAULING LOGS IN WINTER)
Estimate: 1,000 — 1,200
Sold: Sep 2019 — Sold For: $960

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