Artwork by Bill Ronald Reid,  Bear Cub Pendant (1990)

Bill Reid
Bear Cub Pendant (1990)

22k gold pendant with abalone inlay and 18k gold clasp

hand signed, dated 1990 and numbered 2/15 on the reverse
1 x .75 ins ( 2.5 x 1.9 cms ) ( including clasp )

Sold for $47,200.00
Sale date: May 28th 2019

Acquired directly from the artist
Private Collection, Arizona
Bill Reid and Buschlen Mowatt Gallery, Bill Reid: All the Gallant Beasts and Monsters, Vancouver, 1992, page 28, illustrated page 30, listed page 41
Bill Reid was an internationally recognized Haida artist, often credited with the innovative revitalization of Northwest Coast Native arts. This charming 22 karat gold Haida bear cub pendant exemplifies Reid’s intentions of interpreting his ancestors’ visual traditions in a contemporary form.

Born to a Haida mother and a Scottish-American father, Reid was unaware of his native heritage until his teenage years. He was introduced to Haida culture through his maternal grandfather, and later inherited the artistic tools of his great-great-uncle Charles Edenshaw,
a renowned Haida artist. Reid had been studying European jewellery and engraving at the Ryerson Institute of Technology in the late 1940s.

He returned to Vancouver in 1951, and encountered two gold bracelets designed by Edenshaw at his grandfather’s funeral in 1954. Knowledge of the conventions of Haida art had all but dissolved completely, so Reid took it upon himself to study the gold and silver jewellery by Edenshaw in person at museums. He also copied images from reference books on Haida myths and argillite carvings in order to understand the fundamental dynamics of Haida art. Reid set up a basement workshop to apply the traditional jewellery-making techniques he had learned to traditional Haida designs.

Reid became accomplished in several media; he carved in silver, gold, wood and argillite and cast in bronze, referring to himself as “a maker of things” rather than an artist. He handcrafted personal objects of adornment that were adaptations from old crest designs or identity symbols, such as this delicate gold pendant with a finely detailed Haida bear cub mask design. In this striking work, Reid links his jewellery- making expertise to his heritage in a contemporary rendering.

Prominent Vancouver jeweller and friend of the artist, Toni Cavelti praises Reid’s artistic and cultural revitalization: “It has been stated that the designs of the Haida are perhaps the most beautiful, the most cohesive, the most harmonious of any of the early cultures. If that is so, then Bill Reid’s interpretation of it has brought it to its highest form.”

Although noted in the catalogue “Bill Reid: All the Gallant Beats and Monsters” as coming from an edition of 15 plus 1 Artist’s Proof, the pendant’s edition was never completed by the artist.

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Bill Ronald Reid
(1920 - 1998)