Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Arctic Spirit: Inuit art from the Albrecht Collection at the Heard Museum


  • Medium: hardcover
  • Size: 11.5 × 9.75 inches, 240 pages

In one short decade, Dan and Martha Albrecht have put together one of the finest private collections of Inuit art ever assembled—nearly 4,000 pieces, most of which they have generously donated to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. In Arctic Spirit, writer and sculptor Ingo Hessel, the Albrechts’ main advisor, presents the best of these works, 190 sculptures, prints, drawings, and textiles, from prehistoric carvings to contemporary mixed media, and including works from Siberia, Greenland, Alaska, and the Inuit heartland of northern Canada.

“Inuit art is free from Western artistic rules and conventions,” explain the Albrechts. “It comes from the heart and tells its stories in clear, unpretentious, uncluttered tones. It is truly of ‘the people,’ their wisdom, their experience—and we have become believers.”

Arctic Spirit is arranged according to major themes—the land, animals, everyday life, the supernatural—gathering together great works in different styles and materials. Short essays on Inuit culture, contemporary art, and the major artistic “schools” of Inuit art complement the 200 color photos. And close to half of the extensive text is in the words of the artists, more than thirty of whom have provided lengthy commentaries and autobiographical details especially for this publication.

Arctic Spirit is a lushly illustrated, groundbreaking introduction to an extraordinary Native American art form.

Ingo Hessel

Ingo Hessel has been deeply involved with Inuit art and artists for a long time, and for twelve years was Special Projects Officer and Co-ordinator of the Canadian Inuit Art Information Centre of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs for the Government of Canada. His interest in Inuit art has also led to teaching courses at the University of Ottawa, curating exhibitions and publishing numerous articles in journals. His booklet Canadian Inuit Sculpture was published by Canadian Indian and Northern Affairs in nine languages; so far 400,000 copies have been distributed around the world. He lives in Ottawa, where he is now an Inuit art consultant and writer.