John Moran Auctioneers Smashes World Record for Navajo Textile - 1.8 Million!
John Moran Auctioneers Smashes World Record for Navajo Textile
A new world record for a Navajo textile was set yesterday evening when the “Chantland Blanket”, a First-Phase chief’s wearing blanket, realized $1.8 million (including 20% buyer’s premium) at John Moran Auctioneers’ June 19 Antiques Auction. After a pitched battle between phone and floor bidders from across the country, the well-known dealer Donald Ellis of Donald Ellis Gallery in New York and Ontario, bidding from the floor, emerged the victor as the stunned consignor looked on.
This sale price eclipses the previous record for a Navajo blanket when a similar example sold for $522,500 to a buyer at Sotheby’s New York in 1989. It is the second-highest price ever realized at auction for a Native American artifact of any type.
The Chantland Blanket embodies the sought-after trifecta of exceptional rarity, exemplary provenance and fine condition. Consigned to Moran’s from the descendant of a Norwegian immigrant turned tradesman, John Chantland, who acquired it in the 1870s after settling in the town of Mayville, Dakota Territory, it remained in the family until the present day. Maintained in remarkably good condition and never exhibited, the blanket excited a storm of interest upon its re-emergence to public view. Only four other First Phase blankets incorporating lac-dyed red stripes are known to exist outside of public collections, and this design variant of the 19th century artifacts is considered the holy grail of Navajo textile collectors. One example nearly identical to the Chantland is a star exhibit of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
European settlers and Native Americans alike, and selling for large sums for the time. The earliest type of design in the Navajo weaving repertoire, of which archeological examples date to the mid-1700’s, First Phase blankets commonly feature a simple pattern of horizontal stripes of natural brown, black and ivory and indigo-dyed handspun wool. Fewer than one hundred First Phase blankets are known to exist.
Notes Jeff Moran, Senior Vice President at Moran’s: ‘’For centuries, the Navajo Indians were among the most advanced weavers in North America. This wearing blanket not only displays that talent in simple utility for the period, it offers proof of how sophisticated the weavers were by incorporating the red lac and blue indigo colors into the linear composition. It’s Navajo art in purest form.’’
John Moran Auctioneers, Inc., was founded in 1969. Based in the greater Los Angeles area in Altadena, CA, the company conducts monthly sales featuring American and European fine art, decorative arts and jewelry. All auctions are held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA, with bidding available from the floor, by telephone and absentee, or online via liveauctioneers.com and artfact.com. For more information about the company, consignments or auctions past and future, please visit the company website at www.johnmoran.com or contact us at 626-793-1833 or