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La collection Roy H. Robinson

Lakota Sioux Bonhams Robinson

ABOVE: Fully beaded woman’s dress.
Lakota Sioux; Great Plains, American Midwest.
Hide, glass beads, sinew.
H: 162.6 cm.
Ex Roy Henry Robinson, Chicago.
To be offered by Bonhams, Los Angeles, on October 26–27, 2022, est. $80,000–120,000.



LOS ANGELES —The Native American art department at Bonhams will present a special sale titled From the Great Lakes to the Rio Grande: The Collection of Roy H. Robinson.

This single-owner auction with approximately 540 lots will be held in Los Angeles on October 26 and 27, 2022.

Assembled in the early part of the twentieth century, this is perhaps the last remaining major private collection of Native American material culture from that era. Roy Henry Robinson (1882–1970) was a Chicago-based engineer and inventor whose interest in Native American cultures arose in the early 1900s.

Assembled primarily during the 1920s and 30s, the collection focuses on the cultures of the Great Lakes/Woodlands, Plains, and the Southwest. The entire collection has been stored with the family since Robinson’s passing some fifty years ago.

During his lifetime, Robinson cultivated close friendships with George Gustave Heye, Frederick J. Dockstader, and Norman Feder, and his intention was to house the collection he formed in a museum of his own design, a goal that never came to fruition.

Among the highlights of the sale are four complete books of Fort Marion prisoner drawings, acquired from the estate of Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple (1822–1901), an early advocate of Native American rights. This unprecedented group of books was gifted to Whipple by Richard Henry Pratt, commander at Fort Marion in the 1870s, and features the art of Southern Plains warriors imprisoned there between 1875 and 1878. The books include illustrations by Cheyenne artist Bears Heart (Nock-ko-ist, 1851–1882) alongside Kiowa artists Ohet-Toint (High Forehead, c. 1848–1934/35) and Etahdleuh Doanmoe (1856–1888). Each of the four books have a presale estimate of $80,000–120,000.

A wide variety of other rare and interesting material compose the rest of the sale.


From the Great Lakes to the Rio Grande: The Collection of Roy H. Robinson
Bonhams, Los Angeles
26-27 October 2022

Bear's Heart drawing Robinson Bonhams

ABOVE: Drawing book with images by Bears Heart (Cheyenne, 1851–1882) and Ohet-toint (Kiowa, 1848–1923/35).
Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Florida. 1875–1878.
Commercial art book, ink, colored pencil.
22.9 x 58.4 cm open.
Ex General Richard Henry Pratt; Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple, Minnesota; Roy Henry Robinson, Chicago.
To be offered by Bonhams, Los Angeles, on October 26–27, 2022, est. $80,000–120,000.


Tomahwk Many bears Robinson Bonhams

ABOVE: Spontoon tomahawk with beaded drop, belonging to Many Bears, who is pictured holding it in an Edward S. Curtis photograph.
Flathead; Montana, United States.
Iron, wood, brass tacks, fur, hide, canvas, glass beads, sinew, trade cloth, bells.
L: 58.4 cm (pipe only).
Ex Roy Henry Robinson, Chicago.
To be offered by Bonhams, Los Angeles, on October 26–27, 2022, est. $80,000–120,000.

Navajo Serape Robinson Bonhams

ABOVE: Dine (Navajo) Classic Child's serape
Ex Roy Henry Robinson, Chicago.
To be offered by Bonhams, Los Angeles, on October 26–27, 2022, est. $40,000–60,000.

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