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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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Pauta Saila, ᐸᐊ ᓯᓚ

Settlement: Cape Dorset / Kinngait

(1916-2009) — E7-990

Pauta Saila was born in 1916 at his father's camp near the present-day community of Cape Dorset (Kinngait). Of seven children, only Pauta and his sister, Sharni, would survive to adulthood. In 1937 he married Mukshowya, a young woman from the same region. After Mukshowya died while giving birth to twins (the couple's forth and fifth children), Pauta moved to Iqaluit where he met his second wife, Pitaloosie. 

Sometime in the early 1960s Pauta and his now large family moved south to Cape Dorset, and by 1962 he was contributing engraved images to the community's annual print collections. Like Pitaloosie before him, he also began making drawings, some of which would later be published as stonecuts and stencils. But it was his massively formed stone sculptures of bears and other northern animals that most caught the attention of southern critics and connoisseurs. In the 1970s he began making his famous sculptural images of upright 'dancing' bears, producing many outstanding versions. Although Pauta continued to produce one or two sculptures a year, he stopped carving on a full-time basis in the late 1990s.

At once powerful and refined, Pauta's best stone sculptures are among the most impressive to have come from Cape Dorset. Portraying animals such as bears, owls and fish, these works generally feature bold forms contained within elegant contours, resulting in images that are both massive feeling and often exuberantly baroque. Similarly, Pauta's much-loved representations of tall standing bears are simultaneously dynamic, even playful, yet powerfully imposing. With their strong necks and mouths agape to reveal a few sharp ivory teeth, these smoothly formed creatures are often daringly balanced on a single curved rear leg. Although never overtly supernatural, the most impressive examples (mostly produced in the 1970s and 80s) seem to embody ideas of spiritual power and shamanistic flight, an interpretation of their meaning that the artist has himself confirmed.

While usually not as powerful as his sculpted images, Pauta's engravings and stonecuts similarly consist of boldly contoured shapes and forms. Perhaps his earliest engravings of the early 1960s are the most interesting from a technical point of view: created by means of countless tiny parallel or zigzagging strokes, these images of staring owls and wandering polar bears feature bristle-like edges, and often contain decorative patterns of dark, semi-rectangular forms denoting plumage or fur.

Selected References:
Uumajut: Animal Imagery in Inuit Art (1985), Bernadette Driscoll
Eskimo Sculpture (1965), George Swinton


Exhibitions

  • A Tribute to Cape Dorset Male Artists, Inukshuk Gallery
  • Arctic Art, Lippel Gallery, presented at Place Bonaventure
  • Arctic Mirror, Canadian Museum of Civilization
  • Arctic Spirit 35 Years of Canadian Inuit Art, Frye Art Museum
  • Arctic Vision: Art of the Canadian Inuit, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Canadian Arctic Producers
  • ART ESKIMO, Galerie de France
  • Art Inuit, la Sculpture des Esquimaux du Canada, Presented by l'Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Les Chiroux, Centre Culturel de la Wallonie, Liege
  • Baffin Island Sculpture, Inuit Gallery of Vancouver
  • Bears in Sculpture, Theo Waddington Inc.
  • Beeldhouwkunst van de Inuit (Canada), by l'Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai, France at Amphora Finippon pvba, Sint Andries, Brugge, Belgium
  • Borealis: Inuit Images of Man and Animals, Freeport Art Museum and Cultural Centre
  • By the Light of the Qulliq: Eskimo Life in the Canadian Arctic, Smithsonian Institution, A travelling exhibition of Inuit art from the Feheley Collection
  • Canadian Eskimo Arts Festival, Alaska Methodist University Galleries
  • Canadian Eskimo Lithographs: Third Collection, Presented under the auspices of the Cultural Affairs Division of the Department of External Affairs Canada
  • Cape Dorset - A Decade of Eskimo Prints & Recent Sculpture, National Gallery of Canada, in cooperation with the Canadian Eskimo Art Committee
  • Cape Dorset - Selected Sculpture from the Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery
  • Cape Dorset Engravings, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, circulated by the Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Cape Dorset Engravings and Etchings from the Sixties, Arctic Artistry
  • Cape Dorset Graphics, Isaacs Gallery
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *62, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *63, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *64/65, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *66, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *67, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *68, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *69, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *70, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *72, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *75, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *76, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *80, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Graphics *81, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Print Collection (printmaker) *69, (annual collection)
  • Cape Dorset Prints: Twenty-Five Years, National Gallery of Canada
  • Cape Dorset Sculpture, Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec
  • Cape Dorset Sculpture, McMaster Art Gallery
  • Cape Dorset Stone Sculpture: Masters & the Next Generation, Inuit Gallery of Vancouver
  • Cape Dorset Through the Years: 25 Years of Graphics and Sculpture, Arctic Artistry
  • Cape Dorset, First Generation Printers: Engravings 1962-1963, Albers Gallery
  • Contemporary Canadian Eskimo Art, Gimpel Fils
  • Contemporary Eskimo Sculpture and Prints from the Collection of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, Robert Hull Fleming Museum, University of Vermont
  • Drawings of the 1960s from Cape Dorset, Feheley Fine Arts in association with Gimpel Fils, London, England
  • Early and Contemporary Sculpture and Prints by Well-Known Inuit Artists, Arctic Artistry
  • Early Eskimo Sculpture, Arctic Artistry
  • Eskimo Art, Queens Museum
  • Eskimo Art, Embankment Gallery
  • Eskimo Drawings Cape Dorset, Isaacs Gallery
  • Eskimo Sculpture, Winnipeg Art Gallery presented at the Manitoba Legislative Building
  • Eskimo Sculpture, Images Art Gallery
  • Eskimo Sculpture '69, Robertson Galleries
  • Eskimo Sculpture, Eskimo Prints and Paintings of Norval Morrisseau, Art Association of Newport
  • Espaces Inuit, Maison Hamel-Bruneau
  • Exhibition and Sale of Musk-Oxen & Bears, Cottage Craft Gifts & Fine Arts Ltd.
  • Exhibition of Inuit Art, Harbourfront Centre organized by the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph
  • Four Artists from Cape Dorset, Lippel Gallery
  • Granville Island Canadian Inuit Sculpture Exhibition (first exhibition), Vancouver Inuit Art Society
  • Granville Island Canadian Inuit Sculpture Exhibition (second exhibition), Vancouver Inuit Art Society
  • Graphic Art by Eskimos of Canada: First Collection, Cultural Affairs Division, Department of External Affairs, Canada
  • Graphic Art by Eskimos of Canada: Second Collection, Cultural Affairs Division, Department of External Affairs, Canada
  • Grasp Tight the Old Ways: Selections from the Klamer Family Collection of Inuit Art, Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Im Schatten der Sonne: Zeitgenossische Kunst der Indianer und Eskimos in Kanada/In the Shadow of the Sun: Contemporary Indian and Inuit Art in Canada, Canadian Museum of Civilization
  • Images of the Far North, Studio Art Gallery, State University of New York
  • Images of the Far North, Arctic Artistry (held at the Erie County Fairgrounds)
  • Immaginario Inuit Arte e cultura degli esquimesi canadesi, Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea
  • In Cape Dorset We Do It This Way: Three Decades of Inuit Printmaking, McMichael Canadian Art Collection
  • Inoonoot Eskima: Grafik och Skulptur fran Cape Dorset och Povungnituk, Konstframjandet
  • Inspiration Four Decades of Sculpture, Marion Scott Gallery
  • INUA: 50 Works from the Cappadocia Collection of Inuit Art, McMaster Art Gallery
  • Inuit Art from the Canadian Arctic, Bayly Art Museum University of Virginia
  • Inuit Art From the Glenbow Collection, Glenbow Museum
  • Inuit Games and Contests: The Clifford E. Lee Collection of Prints, University of Alberta
  • Inuit Games/Inuit Pinguangit/Jeux des inuit, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
  • Inuit Graphics and Drawings from 1959-1990, Arctic Artistry
  • Inuit Graphics from the Past, Arctic Artistry
  • Inuit Graphics Through the Year: Rare Prints from the Arctic, Arctic Artistry
  • Inuit Masterworks, Inuit Gallery of Vancouver
  • Inuit Music in Art: Singing and Dancing and Playing, Feheley Fine Arts
  • Inuit Sculpture and Graphics, Feheley Fine Arts
  • Inuit Traditions in Graphics: 1961-1987, Arctic Artistry
  • Inuk, Inuit: Art et tradition chez les esquimaux d'hier et d'aujourd'hui, presented by L'Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai, at Musee des Beaux-arts d'Arras
  • Kanuitpit? Kunst und Kulturen der Eskimo: Eine Auswahl aus den Museumssammlungen, Staatliches Museum fur Volkerkunde Munchen
  • Masters of the Arctic: An Exhibition of Contemporary Inuit Masterworks, Presented by the Amway Corporation at the United Nations General Assembly
  • Northern Exposure: Inuit Images of Travel, Burnaby Art Gallery
  • Not Just a Dancing Step..., Galerie D'Art Vincent
  • On the Land, The Arctic Circle
  • Pauta, Gallery One
  • Pauta Saila, Arctic Arts
  • Pitaloosie and Pauta, McMichael Canadian Art Collection
  • Recent Acquisitions of Early Inuit Sculpture, Arctic Artistry
  • Return to Origins III, The Arctic Circle
  • Sculpture of the Inuit: Masterwork Exhibitors of the Canadian Arctic, Inuit Gallery of Vancouver
  • Sculpture/Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic, Canadian Eskimo Arts Council
  • Small Sculptures by Great Artists II, Feheley Fine Arts
  • Small Sculptures by Great Artists III, Feheley Fine Arts
  • Small Sculptures from across the Canadian Arctic, Feheley Fine Arts
  • Spoken in Stone: an exhibition of Inuit Art, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
  • Stone Cuts, Skin Stencils, Copper Engravings and Drawings of Cape Dorset, Glenbow Museum
  • Stones, Bones, Cloth, and Paper: Inuit Art in Edmonton Collections, Edmonton Art Gallery
  • The Art of the Eskimo, Simon Fraser Gallery, Simon Fraser University
  • The Bear: Sculpture, Albers Gallery
  • The Bond Between Mother and Child, The Arctic Circle
  • The Cape Dorset Print, Presented at Rideau Hall by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • The Early Years: Sculpture from the 50's and 60's, The Innuit Gallery of Eskimo Art
  • The Eskimo, Museum of Fine Arts
  • The Eskimo Art Collection of the Toronto-Dominion Bank, Toronto-Dominion Bank
  • The Inuit Imagination, Winnipeg Art Gallery
  • The Inuit Print/L'estampe inuit, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the National Museum of Man
  • The Jacqui and Morris Shumiatcher Collection of Inuit Art, Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, University of Regina
  • The Murray and Marguerite Vaughan Inuit Print Collection, Beaverbrook Art Gallery
  • The Spirit of the Land, The Koffler Gallery
  • The Woodget Collection of Eskimo Art and Artifacts, Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Art
  • The Year of the Bear, The Arctic Circle
  • Ulu/Inua: Form and Fantasy in Eskimo Art, Casino Gallery, Ravinia Park
  • Uumajut: Animal Imagery in Inuit Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery
  • We Lived by Animals/Nous Vivions des Animaux, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in cooperation with the Department of External Affairs
  • Works by Inuit and Indian Artists, Tundra Gallery Arctic Arts Ltd.
  • [L'art inuit], Presented by l'Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Galerie des Tanneurs, Mulhouse
  • [L'art inuit], Presented by l'Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Les Martres-de-Veyre
  • [L'art inuit], Presented by l'Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Chapelle de la Visitation, Thonon

Collections

  • Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, Kingston
  • Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth
  • Amway Environmental Foundation Collection, Ada
  • Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Anchorage
  • Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
  • Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor
  • Art Gallery of York University, Downsview
  • Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton
  • Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec, Montreal
  • Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull
  • Clifford E. Lee Collection, University of Alberta, Edmonton
  • Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown
  • Dennos Museum Center, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City
  • Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton
  • Glenbow Museum, Calgary
  • Inuit Cultural Institute, Rankin Inlet
  • Klamer Family Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
  • Laurentian University Museum and Arts Centre, Sudbury
  • London Regional Art Gallery, London
  • Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph
  • McMaster University Art Gallery, Hamilton
  • McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
  • Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal, Montreal
  • Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
  • Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Yellowknife
  • Red Deer and District Museum and Archives, Red Deer
  • Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
  • Sarick Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
  • Shell Canada Collection, Calgary
  • Simon Fraser Gallery, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby
  • Smithsonian Institution, Washington
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank Collection, Toronto
  • University of Alberta, Edmonton
  • University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Lethbridge
  • University of New Brunswick, Fredericton
  • Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff
  • Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg

Publications

  • L'ART ESQUIMAU D'HOLMAN., Author: Burgess, Helen, Publication: Ottawa: Ministere des Affaires indiennes et du Nord canadien. (1973)
  • PREHISTORIC DORSET ART. — [By] William E. Taylor, Jr. and George Swinton, Author: Taylor, William E., Jr., Publication: The Beaver, Autumn, 1967. p.32-47. (1967)
  • TUU'LUQ/ANGUHADLUQ., Author: Blodgett, Jean, Publication: Winnipeg: The Winnipeg Art Gallery (1976)

Artwork

Title Last Sold At Auction
UNTITLED 2007-04 (April 2007)
BEAR 2015-10 (October 2015)
BEAR ON HIND LEGS 2010-11 (November 2010)
BIRD 2017-06 (June 2017)
BIRD NEST 2008-11 (November 2008)
BIRD WITH FISH 2013-06 (June 2013)
COMPOSITION 2013-05 (May 2013)
CURIOUS OWL 2016-06 (June 2016)
DANCING BEAR 2019-11 (November 2019)
DANCING MYTHICAL CREATURE 2015-06 (June 2015)
DANCING POLAR BEAR 2017-08 (August 2017)
DANCING POLAR BEAR CUBS 2017-05 (May 2017)
DANCING POLAR BEAR/SHAMAN 2013-11 (November 2013)
DANCING SEAL 2017-11 (November 2017)
DANCING WALRUS 2007-11 (November 2007)
DOG 2015-06 (June 2015)
DREAM OF OWL 2014-11 (November 2014)
EAGLE WITH RABBIT 2010-05 (May 2010)
ESKIMO COUPLE 2009-04 (April 2009)
FIGURE OF CHRIST 2018-11 (November 2018)
GROWLING POLAR BEAR 2015-06 (June 2015)
GROWLING POLAR BEAR ON HIND LEGS 2015-11 (November 2015)
HUNTERS AND LARGE ANIMALS 2008-11 (November 2008)
LATE ARRIVAL 2019-02 (February 2019)
MAN WITH CHILD 2018-11 (November 2018)
MATING DANCE 2014-01 (January 2014)
MOTHER AND CHILD 2012-11 (November 2012)
MOTHER AND SON 2010-09 (September 2010)
MOTHER WITH CHILD 2016-03 (March 2016)
MOTHER WITH SON 2017-03 (March 2017)
MUSK OX 2013-11 (November 2013)
OWL 2019-05 (May 2019)
OWL ON CAIRN 2018-09 (September 2018)
OWL WITH RABBIT 2007-11 (November 2007)
PLAYFUL SEAL 2017-05 (May 2017)
POLAR BEAR 2017-05 (May 2017)
POLAR BEAR STANDING ON HIND LEGS 2016-11 (November 2016)
POLAR BEAR STROLLING ON HIND LEGS 2016-11 (November 2016)
SEAL 2014-06 (June 2014)
SEAL OIL LAMP AND DRYING RACK 2017-06 (June 2017)
SNOW BIRDS 2011-11 (November 2011)
STANDING BIRD 2011-05 (May 2011)
STARTLED OWL 2016-08 (August 2016)
STRUTTING POLAR BEAR 2018-11 (November 2018)
THE FISH TRAP 2017-06 (June 2017)
TRANSFORMATION 2013-07 (July 2013)
TWO CARIBOU 2019-11 (November 2019)
TWO FIGURES APPROACHING OWL 2012-05 (May 2012)
UNTITLED 2020-06 (June 2020)
UNTITLED 2020-06 (June 2020)
UNTITLED 2009-04 (April 2009)
UNTITLED 2020-06 (June 2020)
UNTITLED 2020-06 (June 2020)
UNTITLED 2008-11 (November 2008)
UNTITLED 2020-06 (June 2020)
UNTITLED 2019-11 (November 2019)
UNTITLED 2011-09 (September 2011)
UNTITLED 2010-04 (April 2010)
UNTITLED (EAGLE WITH RABBIT) 2010-10 (October 2010)
UNTITLED (HUNTING SCENE); UNTITLED (MAN AND BEAR) 2012-11 (November 2012)
UNTITLED (THREE POLAR BEARS) 2018-05 (May 2018)
WALRUS BOAT 2015-10 (October 2015)
WALRUS TOTEM 2013-02 (February 2013)
WHALE 2011-05 (May 2011)
YOUNG MOTHER 2019-06 (June 2019)

Recent Auction Results

UNTITLED
Estimate: 300 — 500
Sold: Jun 2020 — Sold For: $180
UNTITLED
Estimate: 300 — 500
Sold: Nov 2019 — Sold For: $1,080
DANCING BEAR
Estimate: 10,000 — 15,000
Sold: Nov 2019 — Sold For: $9,600
TWO CARIBOU
Estimate: 1,000 — 1,500
Sold: Nov 2019 — Sold For: $1,920
YOUNG MOTHER
Estimate: 400 — 500
Sold: Jun 2019 — Sold For: $240
OWL
Estimate: 1,000 — 1,500
Sold: May 2019 — Sold For: $1,140

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