LOT 280

Eanger Irving Couse


Kachina Doll Maker

MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

DIMENSIONS: 24 x 29 inches

Signed lower right


SOLD FOR: $245,700.00

Including Buyers Premium

Additional Information

H. Lieber Company, Indianapolis, IN, 1922
Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
Larry & Utta Kravet, Hewlett Bay Park, New York
Coeur d’Alene Art Auction, Reno, NV, 2014
Private Collection, New Mexico

Taos Society of Artists, 1921-22: St. Louis, MO, 1922; Indianapolis, IN; Don Fernando Hotel, Taos, NM; Louisville, KY.

E. Irving Couse: 1866-1936, Nicholas Woloshuk, Santa Fe Village Art
Museum, 1976: p. 14 as Kachina Doll Maker.

In Kachina Doll Maker, Eanger Irving Couse poses a Native American subject on the hearth of an adobe fireplace as he holds a small katsina carving that cuts a strong shape in front of the flames. The subject is Ben Lujan, Couse’s favorite model from Taos Pueblo, who would appear in dozens of the artist’s paintings, including several masterpieces in museum collections. Although katsina carvers are primarily Hopi, there is some precedent for Taos carvings from the early to mid-20th century, including pieces that are in the Smithsonian and the National Museum of the American Indian. These particular examples from this painting are likely Hopi and were probably seen during Couse’s visit to Hopi lands, which began on August 3, 1903. Couse and family took three trains to get to Holbrook, Arizona, where a lumber wagon freighted them 60 miles to Polacca at the base of the Hopi mesas. The artist came well prepared with provisions to last six weeks. The goal of the journey was to see the Hopi Snake Dance, an elaborate prayer for rain. The ceremony takes nine days, much of it within the kivas and closed to outsiders, but on the ninth day dancers emerge for the final ceremony. Couse did see the Snake Dance, at both Walpi and Mishongnovi, but he also experienced plenty more during his travels to the Hopi people. He ate their food, participated in their customs and sketched subjects all around the mesas. He even met Hopi potter Nampeyo. The treasures Couse brought back from the trip, including at least one large kachina, are now part of the Couse-Sharp Historic Site and the Lunder Research Center in Taos.


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Please note that the first unframed photo is most accurate for color. Framed photographs are to show the frame and are not color corrected to the painting.

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