William Ronald (Bill) Reid

William Ronald (Bill) Reid - Heffel Gallery

William Ronald (Bill) Reid

1920 - 1998

Bill Reid was born in Victoria in 1920; his mother was Haida, of the Raven moiety from Skidegate Mission, and his father a Scottish-German American. On his mother's side, he was descended from a line of Haida carvers - his grandfather was Charles Gladstone, a silversmith who studied with his uncle, the renowned artist Charles Edenshaw. Inspired by his grandfather, Reid began to visit Haida Gwaii, and to identify with his Haida heritage. He also began to closely study Edenshaw's extraordinary work.

In his early life, Reid became a radio announcer, and in 1948 began a ten year stint with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, first in Toronto, then in Vancouver. While in working in Toronto, Reid explored the Royal Ontario Museum's collection of Northwest Coast Art, and inspired by traditional Haida jewellery, trained in jewellery-making at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. When he returned to the West Coast in 1951, he established a workshop in his home and began to produce both contemporary and traditional Haida jewellery. In 1968, he spent a year at the Central School of Design in London, England to work on his goldsmithing techniques. On his return to Canada in 1969, he spent three years in Montreal producing jewellery before returning to Vancouver in 1973.

During his lifetime Reid achieved international acclaim as both a jeweller and a sculptor, playing a pivotal role in rebuilding an understanding of Haida art and bringing it to world attention. In numerous works and mediums Reid sought to fuse the magic and power of Haida expressive forms with the conventions of western modernism, and he did so with exquisite skill. Pieces such as the 1970 boxwood carving The Raven Discovering Mankind in a Clamshell find inspiration in western sculptural traditions, as well as the more freely sculptural and narrative works created by late-nineteenth-century Haida argillite carvers. Major monumental works in his oeuvre include the six totem poles carved with Doug Cranmer at the University of British Columbia (1958 - 1962); the house frontal pole at the Skidegate band council office (1978); The Raven and the First Men, a yellow-cedar sculpture at the UBC Museum of Anthropology (1980); the bronze killer whale, Chief of the Undersea World, outside the Vancouver Aquarium (1984); Lootaas (Wave Eater), a 17 metre (50-foot) ocean-going canoe commissioned by the Bank of BC for Expo 86 and The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, a six-metre bronze sculpture at the Canadian embassy in Washington, DC (1991). The Jade Canoe, a second casting of the bronze, was completed for the Vancouver International Airport in 1996.

In 1974 Reid was given a retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery. His work was exhibited at Musée de l'Homme in Paris in 1989 (during which 15 Haida paddlers brought Lootas up the Seine River), in 1993 at the Néprajzi Múzeum in Budapest and in 1997 in the Canadian Embassy Gallery in Tokyo. He received many honours and awards, including honorary degrees from the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria and the University of Toronto, the Order of British Columbia and France's Order of Arts and Letters. Reid died in Vancouver in 1998 - his memorial was held in the UBC Museum of Anthropology, and his ashes were taken aboard Lootaas to his maternal ancestral home in Haida Gwaii. The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art was established in 1999, which displays his work and perpetuates his legacy.

Heffel 's Top Results
Record William Ronald (Bill) Reid sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   William Ronald (Bill) Reid
Killer Whale
44 x 25 x 19in 111.8 x 63.5 x 48.3cm
bronze sculpture with brown patina

Estimate:  $400,000 - $600,000 CDN
Sold for:   $1,180,000 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2016 - 4th Session auction on Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Record William Ronald (Bill) Reid sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   William Ronald (Bill) Reid
Killer Whale (Chief of the Undersea World)
44 1/8 x 29 1/8 x 19 5/8in 112.1 x 74 x 49.8cm
bronze sculpture

Estimate:  $600,000 - $800,000 CDN
Sold for:   $702,000 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Spring 2010 - 1st Session auction on Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Record William Ronald (Bill) Reid sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   William Ronald (Bill) Reid
Killer Whale
44 1/8 x 29 1/8 x 19 5/8in 112.1 x 74 x 49.8cm
bronze sculpture with dark green patina on a bronze base

Estimate:  $275,000 - $325,000 CDN
Sold for:   $414,500 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fine Canadian Art Fall 2002 auction on Thursday, November 14, 2002
Record William Ronald (Bill) Reid sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   William Ronald (Bill) Reid
Haida Bear Canoe (Model) and Haida Bear Paddle
12 1/2 x 92 1/2 x 16 1/2in 31.8 x 234.9 x 41.9cm
1984
carved and painted cedar wood sculpture

Estimate:  $250,000 - $350,000 CDN
Sold for:   $295,000 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2016 - 4th Session auction on Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Record William Ronald (Bill) Reid sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   William Ronald (Bill) Reid
The Chief's Staff (The Spirit of Haida Gwaii)
69 1/2 x 13 x 4 1/4in 176.5 x 33 x 10.8cm
bronze sculpture with green patina

Estimate:  $125,000 - $175,000 CDN
Sold for:   $234,000 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2010 - 1st Session auction on Thursday, November 25, 2010
Record William Ronald (Bill) Reid sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   William Ronald (Bill) Reid
The Raven and the First Men
2 3/4 x 2 1/2 x 2in 7 x 6.3 x 5.1cm
22 karat gold sculpture

Estimate:  $125,000 - $175,000 CDN
Sold for:   $149,500 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fine Canadian Art Fall 2005 auction on Thursday, November 24, 2005
Record William Ronald (Bill) Reid sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   William Ronald (Bill) Reid
The Chief's Staff (The Spirit of Haida Gwaii)
69 1/2 x 13 x 4 1/4in 176.5 x 33 x 10.8cm
bronze sculpture

Estimate:  $125,000 - $175,000 CDN
Sold for:   $140,400 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Spring 2012 - 1st Session auction on Thursday, May 17, 2012
Record William Ronald (Bill) Reid sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   William Ronald (Bill) Reid
Killer Whale on Clan Hat
20 x 12 1/2 x 6in 50.8 x 31.7 x 15.2cm
jade patina bronze and mahogany

Estimate:  $35,000 - $45,000 CDN
Sold for:   $43,875 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fall 2011 - 1st Session auction on Thursday, November 24, 2011
Record William Ronald (Bill) Reid sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   William Ronald (Bill) Reid
Haida Art - Baby Bear
2 x 2 5/8 x 2 1/4in 5.1 x 6.7 x 5.7cm
circa 1953
bracelet composed of sterling silver, large curved band form, finely engraved, cross-hatched area, elaborate ovoids

Estimate:  $25,000 - $30,000 CDN
Sold for:   $40,250 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fine Canadian Art Spring 2006 auction on Thursday, May 25, 2006
Record William Ronald (Bill) Reid sale - Heffel Gallery - Buy and Sell art   William Ronald (Bill) Reid
Haida Art (Killer Whale, Raven, Frog, Human, Bear)
7 1/2 x 1in 19 x 2.5cm
circa 1957
hinged sterling silver bracelet

Estimate:  $25,000 - $35,000 CDN
Sold for:   $28,750 CDN (premium included)

At Heffel's Fine Canadian Art Fall 2006 auction on Friday, November 24, 2006
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