Kenojuak Ashevak print sells for record-breaking price

Rabbit Eating Seaweed may not be as famous as her Enchanted Owl, but it was Kenojuak Ashevak's debut print in her very first Cape Dorset collection and it sold for a record amount at auction in Ottawa Wednesday.

'It's a great, famous, rare, iconic print,' says auction house

The late Kenojuak Ashevak, considered one of the pioneers of Inuit art, saw her first-ever print, Rabbit Eating Seaweed, included in the 1959 Cape Dorset collection. The early work points to the distinctive style for which the famed artist would become renown. (Historymuseum.ca)

Rabbit Eating Seaweed may not be as famous as her Enchanted Owl, but it was Kenojuak Ashevak's debut print in her very first Cape Dorset collection and it sold for a record amount on Wednesday.

Kenojuak Ashevak is one of the most acclaimed Inuit artists to emerge from Cape Dorset, Nunavut. She died in 2013. (Martin Lipman/Canada Council for the Arts)
A copy of the print sold for $59,000 at an auction organized by Walker's Fine Art Auctions in Ottawa.

"That is a record price for any work by Kenojuak and we're very proud of it," said Ingo Hessel, who heads the auction house's Inuit and First Nations art department.

"It's a great, famous, rare, iconic print."

"It turned her into an instant art star. By 1960 she had several works in the next collection which included the Enchanted Owl probably her most famous image but Rabbit Eating Seaweed is the one that started it all for her," he said.

The print was one of 333 pieces of art up for auction including a number of sculptures, prints, drawings and textile pieces from American, Canadian and Greenlandic artists, drawing bidders from across the world.

The sales totaled $1.4 million and included several record-breaking bids.

A wall hanging depicting a hunting scene by Jessie Oonark sold for $70,800, a new record for the Baker Lake artist.

This 1969 wall hanging made of duffel, felt and embroidery floss sold for $70,800, a record for a work by Baker Lake artist Jessie Oonark. (Walker’s Fine Art Auctions)

A carving by Andy Miki from Arviat titled Animal Figure sold for $38,350, a new record for the renowned minimalist artist.

Andy Miki's 1973 Animal Figure chiselled out of a light grey stone sold for $38,350, a new artist record. (Walker’s Fine Art Auctions)

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