Tips on How to Buy and Shop for Genuine Canadian Inuit Art (Eskimo Art) Sculptures



Many visitors to Canada will be exposed to Inuit art (Eskimo art) sculptures while touring the country. These are the spectacular handmade sculptures carved from stone by the Inuit artists living in the northern Arctic areas of Canada. While in some of the significant Canadian cities (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City) or other traveler locations popular with international visitors such as Banff, Inuit sculptures will be seen at various retail shops and displayed at some museums. Because Inuit art has actually been getting more and more worldwide direct exposure, individuals may be seeing this Canadian art type at galleries and museums situated outside Canada too. As a result, it will be natural for lots of travelers and art collectors to decide that they want to acquire Inuit sculptures as nice souvenirs for their homes or as very special presents for others. Presuming that the intent is to obtain an genuine piece of Inuit art rather than a cheap tourist replica, the question occurs on how does one differentiate the real thing from the phonies?

It would be quite disappointing to bring home a piece just to discover later on that it isn't genuine and even made in Canada. If one is lucky enough to be traveling in the Canadian Arctic where the Inuit live and make their fantastic art work, then it can be securely presumed that any Inuit art piece purchased from a regional northern store or directly from an Inuit carver would be genuine. One would have to be more careful elsewhere in Canada, specifically in traveler locations where all sorts of other Canadian keepsakes such as tee shirts, hockey jerseys, postcards, essential chains, maple syrup, and other Native Canadian arts are sold.

The best locations to look for Inuit sculptures to ensure credibility are always the respectable galleries that focus on Canadian Inuit art and Eskimo art. A few of these galleries have advertisements in the city tourist guides found in hotels.

Respectable Inuit art galleries are also noted in Inuit Art Quarterly magazine which is devoted totally to Inuit art. When one strolls into these galleries, one will see that there will be only Inuit art and possibly Native art but none of the other typical tourist souvenirs such as postcards or tee shirts . The Inuit sculpture might be signed by the carver either in English or Inuit syllabics however not all authentic pieces are signed. Kurt Criter

Some of these Inuit art galleries likewise have sites so you might shop and purchase genuine Inuit art sculpture from house anywhere in the world. In addition to these street retail specialized galleries, there are now trusted online galleries that also specialize in authentic Inuit art. These online galleries are a excellent option for purchasing Inuit art since the rates are usually lower than those at street retail galleries because of lower overheads. Obviously, like other shopping on the internet, one should take care so when dealing with an online gallery, ensure that their pieces also come with the official Igloo tags to make sure credibility.

Some traveler shops do carry authentic Inuit art as well as the other touristy souvenirs in order to cater to all types of travelers. Genuine Inuit sculpture is carved from stone and therefore should have some weight or mass to it. An authentic Inuit sculpture is a one of a kind piece of artwork and nothing else on the shop racks will look exactly like it.

Where it becomes harder to determine credibility are with the reproductions that are likewise made of stone. This can be a real gray area to those not familiar with authentic Inuit art. They do have mass and may even have some type of tag suggesting that it was handcrafted but if there are other pieces on the shelves that look too comparable in detail, they are more than likely not genuine. If a seller claims that such as piece is genuine, ask to see the official Igloo tag that includes it which will have information on the artist, location where it was made and the year it was carved. If the Igloo tag is not offered, carry on. The authentic pieces with the accompanying authorities Igloo tags will always be the highest priced and are usually kept in a different (perhaps even locked) rack within the store.


Since Inuit art has actually been getting more and more worldwide exposure, individuals may be seeing this Canadian fine art form at museums and galleries located outside Canada too. If one is fortunate enough to be taking a trip in the Canadian Arctic where the Inuit live and make their terrific artwork, then it can be safely presumed that any Inuit art piece acquired from a regional northern shop or directly from an Inuit carver would be genuine. Respectable Inuit art galleries are also noted in Inuit Art Quarterly publication which is dedicated entirely to Inuit art. The Inuit sculpture may be signed by the carver either in English or Inuit syllabics but not all genuine pieces are signed. Some of these Inuit art galleries also have sites so you could go shopping and purchase genuine Inuit art sculpture from house anywhere in the world.

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