Artwork by Robert Davidson,  Bird in the Air

Robert Davidson
Bird in the Air

epoxy powder-coated aluminum
signed with initials, dated 2013 and numbered 4/12 on a brass plate at the side of the base; titled on a gallery label on the underside of the base
11 x 17.75 x 7.5 ins ( 27.9 x 45.1 x 19.1 cms ) ( overall (including base) )

Auction Estimate: $6,000.00$4,000.00 - $6,000.00

Price Realized $13,200.00
Sale date: November 22nd 2021

Acquired directly from the artist
Kinsman Robinson Gallery, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
“Expanding the Circle: Robert Davidson and the Ancient Language of Haida Art”, Art Gallery of Hamilton, 11 Feb - 28 May, 2017
Robert Davidson is a leading figure in the renaissance of Haida art and culture. His Haida name is Guud Sans Glans which means "Eagle of the Dawn". The eagle is one of the most important beings in the art and mythology of the Northwest Coast. It is respected for its intelligence and power, as well as its sharp vision. Eagles are one of Davidson’s favourite subjects, as seen in the striking red and blue “Bird in the Air” sculpture.

Robert Davidson began carving at the age of thirteen when his father insisted he carry on the family artistic tradition. He moved to Vancouver for high school, where he deepened his knowledge of fine art as well as of the culture of the Haida Nation, which had all but vanished in his native village of Massett. In the late 1960s, Davidson enrolled at the Vancouver School of Art, and received training from fellow Haida sculptor Bill Reid. “Bird in the Air” is an example of the artist’s modern, skillfully rendered sculptures that celebrate his Haida heritage.

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Robert Davidson
(1946) Order of Canada

Robert Davidson’s passion to revive and perpetuate a variety of forms of Haida cultural expression, including song, dance and ceremony, has fueled his remarkable output throughout the years. He has been responsible among other things for carving and raising the first totem pole in his hometown of Massett in nearly 90 years when he was just 22 years old. His inspiration was to give his elders a chance to celebrate
in a way they had not been able to in their lifetimes.

Davidson was born November 4, 1946 to a particularly notable family of artists. His great grandfather was the famed Haida artist, Charles Edenshaw (1839 - 1924) whose superb artworks were well known in the Haida community and also collected and displayed in showrooms internationally, during the era before Haida culture was painfully silenced by the government.

While he was growing up, the art of his culture had virtually disappeared from view in Massett, but from an early age, Robert was surrounded by fine carving as both his father, Claude Davidson and grandfather, Robert Davidson Sr. were respected carvers. Robert began carving at the age of 13 when his father insisted he carry on the family artistic tradition. Because his local school did not offer all the grades necessary to graduate from high school, in 1965, Robert moved to Vancouver to complete his education at Point Grey Secondary School. In an ironic way, this move allowed him to learn more about the arts of the Haida Nation, as he was able to visit the Vancouver Museum to see stunning artworks that had been collected from Haida Gwaii.

In 1966, while demonstrating his carving work at Eaton’s in Vancouver, Davidson met the late Bill Reid, who then coached him on sculpture and design for the next eighteen months. Through Reid, he met anthropologist Wilson Duff, artist Bill Holm and continued to learn about the Haida art. In 1967 he enrolled in the Vancouver School of Art (predecessor to the Emily Carr University of Art and Design), a place he credits for developing his drawing.

For more than fifty years now, Robert Davidson has worked as an artist and has produced an internationally acclaimed body of work. His work is found in a number of private and public collections including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles. He has also received many honours for his accomplishments. In 1995 he received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for his contribution to First Nations art and culture. He holds numerous honourary degrees. He has received the Order of British Columbia, and in 1996 was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada, and received both the Governor General’s Award for Visual Arts and the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts in 2010.

Robert Davidson is a leading figure in the renaissance of Haida art and culture and is a founding member of The Rainbow Creek Dancers with his brother, Reg Davidson. He is also one of the founding members of the Haida Gwaii Singers Society, started by Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson. He currently lives and works in White Rock near Vancouver and Massett in Haida Gwaii.