Historic Cape Dorset prints up for auction

The only known complete set of the 1959 Cape Dorset Graphic Collection, the original artworks that helped launch the Inuit art movement, is up for auction Monday.

Landmark collection helped launch Inuit art movement

A landmark collection of Inuit art prints — the 1959 Cape Dorset Graphics Collection, which helped introduced a new Canadian art movement to the world — is set for auction in Toronto today.

What's believed to be the last complete set of the original 39-print collection will be offered as part of Waddington's Inuit Art auction on Monday night. The collection is estimated to fetch between $400,000 and $450,000.

Artist, Inuit art advocate and former government administrator James Houston and his first wife, Alma, helped introduce block printing to the Inuit after moving to Cape Dorset in the mid-1950s. After just a few years, a collective of talented artists was producing incredible, evocative works that shared and celebrated their culture, history, experiences and traditions.

The 1959 collection "represents the start of an incredibly important Canadian art movement: printmaking in the Arctic, specifically Cape Dorset," Waddington's president Duncan McLean told CBC News.

The portfolio of works represented a bold and original new voice in Canadian visual art that struck a chord with collectors in Toronto, Montreal, New York and eventually the world.

In the video above, Jelena Adzic reports on the influential collection.