Joshua Baer is president and managing partner of Joshua Baer & Company in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Joshua Baer & Company specializes in the appraisal, purchase, resale, and restoration of Navajo blankets, historic Navajo rugs, antique Native American art, New Mexican tinwork, Spanish Colonial furniture, and vintage American photography. Joshua Baer & Company has been a New Mexico Corporation since October of 1987.
Since 1985, Joshua Baer has performed more than two thousand appraisals of Navajo blankets and rugs. Baer has acted as a consultant to auction companies dealing in Navajo blankets, including Bonham’s of San Francisco, Christie’s of New York, Heritage Auctions of Dallas, and Sotheby’s of New York. Individual appraisal and consultation clients have included Tony Berlant, Donald Ellis, Steve and Laurene Jobs, Ralph Lauren, Arthur Levitt, Linda and Stanley Marcus, Hal Riney, Gerald Peters, Helen Schwab, Jack Silverman, Gaylord Torrence, Mark Winter, and other private collectors. Between 2003 and 2004, working on a pro-bono basis, Baer appraised all of the classic Navajo blankets in the collection of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Joshua Baer has advertised appraisal and consultation services in American Indian Art Magazine, The Magazine Antiques, The Magazine, and online at westernpictures.net and navajoblanketappraisals.com. Baer has appraised Navajo blankets which were donated to the Navajo Cultural Museum in Window Rock, Arizona; the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California; the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado; El Rancho de las Golondrinas in Santa Fe, New Mexico; the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe; the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts; the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, New York. Baer has appraised works of antique Native American ceremonial art which were repatriated to the Acoma, Apache, Hopi, Jemez, and Navajo tribes.
In 1996, Joshua Baer testified as an expert witness in a court case involving commercial values of Navajo blankets (Burke vs. Harmon; Lincoln, Nebraska, June, 1996). Baer has appeared on CNBC (January, 1997), on NBC (January, 1997), and on CBS (October, 2000) as an authority on the market for Navajo blankets. On January 14, 1997, Baer was featured in USA Today as a prominent dealer in Navajo blankets. Between February, 2000, and February, 2001, Baer performed online appraisals as the Native American art specialist at auctionwatch.com.
Joshua Baer is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz, with bachelor’s degrees in Art History and English Literature in 1974. Baer is the author of three books about Native American art: Collecting The Navajo Child’s Blanket (1986), Twelve Classics (1989), and The Last Blankets (1998). Baer’s articles about Native American art have appeared in Hali Magazine, The Magazine Antiques, Tribal Art Magazine, and the Santa Fean Magazine. Baer has written articles about Navajo blankets and prehistoric Southwestern pottery for auctionwatch.com.
In 1986, Joshua Baer curated an exhibition of Navajo child’s blankets for Morning Star Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1992, Baer curated Space and Design, an exhibition of Navajo chief’s blankets, for the Monterey Peninsula Museum in Monterey, California. In 1998, Baer curated The Last Blankets, an exhibition of historic Navajo double saddle blankets. The Last Blankets appeared at Joshua Baer & Company in Santa Fe, and at the Winter Antiques Show in New York City. In 2001, in cooperation with the San Francisco Folk Art Museum, Baer curated The Rio Grande Serape, an exhibit of Navajo, Rio Grande, and Saltillo serapes for the Tribal and Textile Show at Fort Mason in San Francisco, California.
In March of 2012, Baer appraised the Chantland First Phase Chief’s Blanket, Navajo, circa 1840, for $1,800,000. On June 19, 2012, the Chantland First Phase sold at Moran’s Auctions in Pasadena, California, for $1,800,000, buyer’s premium included—at the time, a record price for a Navajo chief’s blanket. In 2015, Baer appraised the Denman Ross First Phase for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In May of 2016, Baer gave a lecture entitled Dahistło (“From the ground up,” in Navajo) to the Textile and Costume Society at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.