This remarkably rare piece is a prototype purse (c. 1960) from revolutionary fashion designer Lloyd Kiva New. This piece, acquired from a private collection in Arizona, is canvas pouch purse with a carved sterling silver handle and removable silver medallion. Pieces from this limited line, a collaboration with George Kee, are highly collectible and prototypes are even more so.
George Kee (?-1980; Navajo). Active 1940s-1980. Stampwork. Brother of Allen and Ivan Kee and father of Anthony Kee. Cousin of Kenneth Begay. Worked at the White Hogan and the Arizona Turquoise & Silver Company.
Marks:G K; G K (plus the White Hogan symbol and HAND MADE STERLING)
Lloyd Kiva New - Lloyd Henri Kiva New (Cherokee, 1916-2002) was a pioneer of modern Native American fashion design and a cofounder of theInstitute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1945 he opened a fashion boutique in the Arizona Craftsmen Court in Scottsdale, Arizona. His label, named Kiva, first focused on leather purses, belts, and hats. In 1948, he expanded to a full clothing line. He collaborated with major Native American artists including Manfred Susunkewa (Hopi),Charles Loloma (Hopi), andAndrew Van Tsinhajinnie (Navajo). His boutique flourished through the 1940s and 1950s.
Kiva designs sold to Neiman Marcus.
Prototype Canvas Purse with Removable Silver Medallion, ca. 1960
canvas, sterling silver
prototype is rare