Richard Associates Art Appraisals specializes in Native American art appraisals of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries from across America. Regions include the Great Plains, Southwest, Plateau, Basin, Eastern Woodlands and Northwest Coast. We appraise items such as Navajo & Pueblo blankets, beaded items, pottery, kachina figures, painted hide objects, basketry and jewelry.
Appraising historic American Indian art and artifacts requires expertise in the broad expanse of the various items and materials that are part of this genre of collection. The many subtleties that must be recognized in each category require years of handling material, collecting, observation and learning from other experts. One never stops learning in this field. Understanding how materials and techniques changed over time and how they are used to date items is most important as these factors can drive value in Native American art appraisals.
Navajo blankets from the 19th century are a good example of how materials can drastically affect value in an appraisal. Since there was not a good indigenous plant source for the color red in the Southwest in the early and mid-19th century, the color was obtained through commercially made cloth and yarns dyed with natural protein sources known as Lac and Cochineal. This cloth was raveled apart – strand by strand – and then rewoven into textiles in order to get the vibrant red shades found in Classic Period Navajo blankets. One such material known as Bayetta was imported from England and Spain into Mexico and then brought to the Southwest. Other materials such as Saxony, American Flannel and early Germantown yarns were also used in the Classic and Late Classic periods. Indigo dye was also commonly used. Weavings with these materials can be far more valuable than those created just 20 – 30 years later with common aniline dyes. In a relatively short period of time, these blankets changed in terms of materials and design elements. This knowledge of history is important in the appraisal of Navajo blankets. Similar subtleties are found in many forms of American Indian art and artifacts, such as the differences found in the size and color of trade beads from various periods.
Please contact us for a free consultation on your Native American art appraisal needs.