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Native Intuition

BY Etta Meyer | August 13, 2018 | Feature Features

Basalt residents George and Teena Shaw have made a life and career out of buying and selling world-class antique North American Indian art.
A snowflake jar from what's now Arizona, circa 1100-1250.

In the 1970s and ’80s, there was a hot market for prehistoric Eskimo ivories. “They’re wonderful things from the West Coast of Alaska in the Bering Strait that date from 200 B.C. to about 1100 A.D.,” explains American Indian art dealer George Shaw (georgeshawgallery.com). Thirty-five years ago, the tall and affable George brought his fiancĂ©e, Teena, to New York City on a buying trip. He was supposed to make only modest inquiries at the time, but that flew out the window when he was presented with two exquisite Eskimo ivories. Fortunately, those charmed works became the cornerstone of their famous prehistoric collection. (Their sale also contributed to the newlyweds’ first home purchase in Aspen.)

This summer, the art-dealing couple celebrates their 35th wedding anniversary along with 35 years of collecting and selling some of the most important pieces of American Indian art in the world. Fun fact: More than 100 works that have passed through their doors have gone on to be exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

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