Lot 159

Previous image preload Next image preload


Johnny Inukpuk ᔭᓂ ᐃᓄᐳ, RCA (1911-2007), Inukjuak (Port Harrison)


stone, ivory, melted phonograph records, unsigned

Estimate: $20,000—30,000
Many countries prohibit or restrict importation or exportation of property containing ivory, whale bone, sealskin, and/or products derived from other endangered or protected species, and require special licenses or permits in order to import or export such property. It is the responsibility of the buyer to ensure that the item is properly and lawfully exported / imported. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialists for further details.

  • Private Collection, Hamilton, ON
    Waddington's Auctioneers, Toronto, ON, 19 Nov 2019, lot 52
    Private Collection, Toronto, ON
  • Dimensions:
  • 5 x 9.5 x 4.5 in — 12.7 x 24.1 x 11.4 cm
  • Artist Name:
  • Johnny Inukpuk ᔭᓂ ᐃᓄᐳ, RCA (1911-2007)
  • Medium:
  • stone, ivory, melted phonograph records
  • Notes:
  • Said to be one of, if not the best known, of the early masters of Inuit sculpture, Johnny Inukpuk was born the son of a respected camp leader. Inukpuk was said to be a respected camp leader in his own right as early as 1958, along with Abraham Nastapoka and Sarollie Weetaluktuk, three of the earliest 20th century sculptors in Inukjuak (Port Harrison). (1) Inukpuk worked in a range of styles but is probably best known for his rendering of beautifully polished, soft rounded features. In the middle 1950s many of his works were inset with hard rubber from melted phonograph records, as well as ivory inlay, often embellished with finely incised designs.

    Darlene Coward Wight, in her text Early Masters: Inuit Sculpture 1949-1955, notes that Inukpuk was particularly talented in locating excellent stone, which “is characterised by pronounced, translucent layers that glow in the light, and by gold patches that enhance this opalescent effect. Inukpuk made intelligent use of this colourful stone by reducing carved details and creating smooth, round forms that are polished to a shiny brilliance.” (2)

    Crouching Mother and Child, dated ca. 1955, pushes the artist’s use of soft contours and minimal forms to the limit, creating an artwork unmatched in Inukjuak sculpture of the era for its original use of reductive composition. The mother has taken her arms out of the sleeves of her amauti, and bundled inside it, echoes the form of her swaddled child held barely visible through the garment’s opening. Fine details are embellished with inlay and delicate incising. The original fine polishing of the surface is still evident.

    (1) Darlene Coward Wight, Early Masters: Inuit Sculpture 1949-1955 (Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2006), 22.
    (2) Wight, Early Masters, 84.

    Related Works:
    Waddington’s Auctioneers, Toronto, ON, 7 Dec 1988, lot 257
    George Swinton, Sculpture of the Eskimo (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 1972), 50, pl. 7.
  • Condition:
  • Overall very good condition. Irregularities inherent in material. Some minor abrasions. Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

Accepted Forms of Payment:

American Express, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


The Auctioneers will not undertake packing or shipping. The purchaser must designate and arrange for the services of an independent shipper and be responsible for all shipping and insurance expenses. The Auctioneers will, upon request, provide names of professional packers and shippers but will not be held responsible for the service or have any liability for providing this information. Reliable pre-auction estimates of shipping costs of lots offered in this sale may be obtained from:


When contacting the shippers please have your invoice # and item information ready.

Attn: Taurus Chan
Tel: 905.470.6874
Fax: 905.470.6875
[email protected]

Safer Shipping
Attn: Perry Hehn
Tel: 416.299.3367
Fax: 416.299.9750
[email protected]


Please note that lots in our Waddington's West auctions are located in Vancouver, B.C. When contacting the shippers please have your invoice # and item information ready.

The UPS Store 424
Tel: 604-559-5446
[email protected]

Tel: 604-472-6245
[email protected]

Restrictions exist regarding the import and export of species protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). This includes but is not limited to items made of or containing bone (whalebone etc.), ivory, tortoise shell, seal skin, rhinoceros horn and any other animal part and is strictly controlled or forbidden by most countries. Please review your country's laws before bidding on pieces made of or containing these restricted items. It is the sole responsibility of the buyer to inquire about and obtain the proper permits for artwork purchased that may contain restricted materials, if such permit can be obtained. Please contact the department for further assistance. For more information please visit www.cites.org

May 29, 2024 7:00 PM EDT
Toronto, ON, CA


You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
CA$0 CA$249 CA$10
CA$250 CA$499 CA$25
CA$500 CA$999 CA$50
CA$1,000 CA$1,999 CA$100
CA$2,000 CA$4,999 CA$250
CA$5,000 CA$9,999 CA$500
CA$10,000 CA$19,999 CA$1,000
CA$20,000 CA$49,999 CA$2,000
CA$50,000 CA$99,999 CA$5,000
CA$100,000 CA$299,999 CA$10,000
CA$300,000 CA$999,999 CA$25,000
CA$1,000,000 CA$1,999,999 CA$50,000
CA$2,000,000 CA$2,999,999 CA$100,000
CA$3,000,000 CA$4,999,999 CA$200,000
CA$5,000,000 + CA$300,000