Douglas & McIntyre
Tsimshian Treasures

Book details:

June 2007
ISBN 978-1-55365-332-5
10" x 12"
144 pages
75 colour photographs
Art / American / Native American ART041000
$55.00 CAD


  • BC Historical Federation Awards - 3rd place runner-up

Douglas & McIntyre

Tsimshian Treasures

The Remarkable Journey of the Dundas Collection

This stunning catalogue celebrates the remarkable return of 36 masterpieces of Tsimshian art collected in northern British Columbia more than 40 years ago.

In October 1863, Reverend Robert J. Dundas of Scotland purchased eighty "ceremonial object

Spectacular and celebratory-a visually stunning homage to the historic repatriation of 36 Tsimshian masterpieces collected in northern British Columbia in the late 19th century and now returned home courtesy of generous Canadian donors

Produced in conjunction with a five-gallery national tour, this book features 38 full-colour plates and five essays on 36 of the most significant pieces from the Dundas Collection of Northwest Coast American Indian Art auctioned in Fall 2006 in New York.

Considered the last known field collection privately owned, the Dundas Collection was first acquired by Reverend Robert James Dundas of Scotland in 1863 in the Tsimshian village of Metlakatla, located near Prince Rupert. It had been passed down through Robert Dundas's family until its latest owner Simon Carey - Dundas's great-grandson - decided to put most of it-80 or so pieces-on the block.

Now, more than 140 years later, 36 of the most spectacular artifacts in this collection return to Canada, among them a stunning Tsimshian wooden face mask which fetched a record-setting US $1.8 million at auction in New York. Other highly prized items include a wooden bowl and a decorated wooden food dish. (All told, the 80 plus items in collection sold for US $7.03 million at auction, a record for the sale of first-nations art.)

Organized by the Donald Ellis Gallery, in conjunction with the Royal BC Museum of Victoria, the exhibition tour kicks off on March 1 at the Museum of Northern BC in Prince Rupert, then moves to the Royal BC Museum on April 27, before travelling to four other galleries across the country.

Exhibition Tour:

"Treasures of the Tsimshian from the Dundas Collection"

April 27 - July 4 Royal BC Museum July 17 - October 7 Art Gallery of Ontario November 1 - January 7, 2008 Canadian Museum of Civilization January 28 - June 7, 2008 UBC Museum of Anthropology

Donald Ellis Gallery is currently the foremost dealer of historical North American Indian Art in Canada and a leading dealer internationally. As such, Mr. Ellis has been purchasing and selling, consulting and providing appraisal services to private collectors, corporations and museums since 1976.

As a private dealer, Mr. Ellis specializes in 18th- and 19th-century Northwest Coast and Eskimo Art, with a general interest in material culture indigenous to the geographic area of Canada. Among his principal clients are several prominent public institutions. Donald Ellis Gallery recently assisted the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta, in a major deaccessioning of their Southwestern Indian collection.

Steven Clay Brown has been a student of NW Coast Native cultures since the mid-1960s. He has participated in numerous carving projects from totem poles to dugout canoes in Native communities in Alaska and Washington State. Former curator of NW Coast Art at Seattle Art Museum. In 1986, he began a writing career that has flourished to include more than five major books in this field. Brown lives in Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula with his wife Irma and their young son, Abaya.

Alan Hoover is a former curator and manager at the Royal British Columbia Museum (retired June 2001) where he worked for 33 years. He has published widely on the material culture and art of Northwest Coast peoples including articles and essays on the works of Charles Edenshaw, Bill Reid and Robert Davidson. He is a co-author of The Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Northwest Coast Indian Art (1984) and The Magic Leaves: A History of Haida Argillite Carving (2002). Hoover is the editor of the anthology Nuu-chah-nulth Voices, Histories, Objects & Journeys (2000). He lives in Victoria.

Sarah Milroy is former editor of Canadian Art magazine, is an art critic who has written for journals, magazines, and newspapers, including the National Post and The Globe and Mail.

Bill Holm is a well-respected writer and former Curator of Northwest Coast Indian Art at the Burke Museum, and retired professor from the Art History Division of the School of Art at the University of Washington. For more than three decades he has focused on teaching, research and field work among Northwest Coast people. He has published eight books, including his first book Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form (now in its thirteenth printing), and many articles on Native Northwest arts and cultures, and has lectured widely in North America and Europe. He has also served as a consultant on Northwest Coast art for many of the world's major museums. Bill Holm and his wife Marty live in Seattle, Washington.

William White was born into the Git Wil Gyoots tribe of the Tsimshian Nation. He is from the Raven Clan and holds the traditional name Li Aam Laxhuu. William has been weaving in the tradition of his people for the past 25 years. He has been a Chilkat and Ravenstail weaver for 15 of those years. He has made it his mission to ensure that the practice of Tsimshian weaving continues. Mr. White's dedication to his work has become evident through his prolific body of work. His pieces are housed in museums and private collections throughout the world. William's art has been exhibited in Europe, U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand and Canada. He continues to foster good working relationships with museums, art galleries and universities as part of his efforts to educate the world about his people.

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