The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Paris, 15 September 2017
They’re the ones who murmur into the ears of collectors. Gallerists play a crucial role in the tribal-art economy. For this special issue, a number of them, each with their own specialities, have agreed to share their feelings on the sector. Confidences.
At auctions, the eclectic nature of the tribal-art market indicates sure growth in the long term, both in terms of the number of lots placed on sale and their proceeds, even if the last three years have seen heavy fluctuations, if not a slight decline. However, by overshadowing the reality of the world of dealers, auction results are only a partial indicator of the health of a sector characterised by deep restructuring. Between a generational shift among collectors, sourcing difficulties, and a complex balance between auction houses and dealers, what does the future hold?
Collectors: a new generation takes the reins? In the eyes of Alain Lecomte from the gallery Abla & Alain Lecomte, specialised in ancient African arts, there’s no doubt about it: the sector is in for a shakeup: “The [.../...]See more
Paris, 4 September 2017
Stratospheric-level auctions, overheated prices… The market for archaeological and tribal pieces is booming! We retrace the phenomenon of star status for these highly coveted objects. An issue that we examine by seeing what dealers, collectors and members of the scientific community have to say…
Ever since the start of the 2000s, the tribal-art market has literally exploded, with its turnover jumping up from €13.7 million in 2001 to €92.1 in 2014. Despite this strong growth, tribal art remains a marginal market, which represents only 0.68 % of the global turnover of art auction sales, in other words, 40 times less than the proportion occupied by modern art, according to a report published by Artkhade and Art Analytics in December 2015.
Largely in front, Africa and Oceania leave other geographical zones behind in the shadows. Between 2000 and 2014, these two continents represented 64.8 % of lots offered at auctions and 81 % of the sector’s total sales proceeds. Above all, the market’s growth has been accompanied by a [.../...]See more
Brussels, 4 September 2017
D.C.: The market has evolved considerably in the last decade. With the first major public sales of African art, for example the sale of the Hubert Goldet collection in 2001, works reached heights sometimes going over the million-euro mark, which was something completely new. Next, let’s not forget that the major auction houses would traditionally organise their sales in Amsterdam, London or New York. Now, Sotheby’s and Christie’s each hold two African-art sales per year in Paris. Fairs such as the Parcours des Mondes or the BRUNEAG, its Brussels twin, have also expanded. But the main triggering phenomenon was the inauguration of the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, a great step for the acceptance of this art. For dealers, the role of these institutions is primordial as they enable offering a less ethnographic view of these collections; the public would now see an African-art object as it would see a painting. And we hope to obtain the same impact in Belgium with the [.../...]See more
Paris, 3 September 2017
To celebrate the 40th birthday of the Musée Barbier-Mueller, the Biennale Paris is welcoming a selection of 130 works from this Swiss family’s personal collections. An opportunity to retrace a passion and a saga.
For the Barbier-Muellers, collecting is part of the family history… It started off with the grandfather, Josef Mueller, then continued with the mother, Monique, the father, Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, and today the three sons, Gabriel, Stéphane, Thierry, as well as Diane, one of the granddaughters. Four generations of collectors that the Biennale Paris has chosen to honour through a selection of works from their collection, some of which have never been unveiled to the public. “The idea was to set up a dialogue between major pieces from four generations of collectors with very different tastes by recreating the atmosphere of Josef Mueller’s apartment, where modern paintings stood alongside primitive-art objects,” is the way that Laurence Mattet, director of the Musée Barbier-Mueller in Geneva, puts it. Sculptures and [.../...]See more
Paris, 3 November 2016
On 15 and 16 December, the auction house Millon, in collaboration with Christie’s, will be selling, at the Hôtel Drouot, a selection of pieces from Madeleine Meunier’s estate. The 15 December will feature nearly 80 African and Oceania art objects, and nearly 60 archaeological lots collected by Aristide Courtois and Charles Ratton, which have remained in the shadows for nearly half a century. The 16 December sale will be for furniture, silverware, jewellery and other objects belonging to Madeleine Meunier.
Paris, 24 October 2016
Several dates have been set for dispersing the tribal, modern and contemporary art collection of film director Claude Berri (1934 – 2009), comprising over 400 works, at Christie’s in Paris. During the 43rd edition of the FIAC, 80 lots of post-war and contemporary works were offered for sale, on 22 October. Artists represented included Wim Delvoye with his pigskin tattooed with Mickey et Minnie (2005), estimated at between €1 and 1.5 million, Jean Dubuffet with his ink work Paysage (1960), expected to fetch about €50,000, and Tatiana Trouvé with her Untitled (2005) charcoal drawing, estimated at between €10,000 and €15,000. A photograph sale is being organised on 12 November during the Paris Photo fair. The auction house has also set a sales session for tribal art, on 13 December.
London, 27 August 2016
Bryan Reeves has stood for a certain vision of tribal art and culture ever since he launched the Tribal Perspectives fair in 2007. Since then, the event has grown, changed its name and venue by moving into The Mall Galleries to become Tribal Art London. At the start of September, Art Media Agency with Artkhade went to London, winding through the fair’s alleys, to meet Bryan Reeves.
B. R.: I like introducing Tribal Art London as a cultural fair. Our exhibitors cover all fields of tribal art around the globe, and we have a well-developed conference programme, offering debates in fields as wide as culture or ethnography — the aim being to increase understanding of tribal art without contenting ourselves with merely being a strictly commercial fair. Today, the fair is heading to its ninth birthday. When we started, we were no more than a small exhibition with three dealers — “Tribal Perspectives”. We gradually developed the fair, then moved to a fantastic spot, [.../...]See more
Berlin, 8 April 2016
On 8 March 2016, the online sales platform Auctionata announced a Gross Merchandise Value of $90 million (€81 million) in 2015, in other words a 165 % leap marking its strengthened leadership in the online auction sector. The company envisages developing new sales formats and increasing broadcasting times for its auctions in 2016.
Auctionata, set up in Berlin in 2012, is based in Berlin, New York and London. The bulk of its turnover comes from Berlin (80%) while New York and London represent 20 % — the house is however strengthening its position in the United States. It ran 249 auctions in 2015. Its progress is attributed to the launch of new processes, allowing sales to be held from two or three different locations. Auctionata holds the online sale record for a 17th century porcelain vase sold for €875,000 ($951,000).
According to Alexander Zacke, chairman and founder of Auctionata: “With 200,000 customers from 199 countries and several distinct yet complementary livestream formats, [.../...]See more
Since the market crash in 2008, the term “bubble”, applied in an economic context, has become part of everyday vocabulary. The analogy of a market growing so big, like a bubble, filled with air only waiting to burst, is almost irresistibly charming. Economic bubbles happen all the time, all over the world.
The most discussed possible bubble in recent years has been the art market. Critics, ranging from economists, journalists to opinionated folk, claim that the art market is a bubble and that when it bursts, it will be ugly. Maybe this talk started exactly the same day the biggest bubble in almost a century started bursting: 15 September 2008. On this day, one of the biggest Wall Street firms, Lehmann Brothers, went bankrupt, signalling the real depth of the crisis the world was about to face. On the other side of the Atlantic, Sotheby’s held a one-man auction, with works from Damien Hirst only commissioned directly from the artist, raising £111 million. This is an almost unbelievable coincidence: one of the most controversial artists [.../...]See more
Paris, 18 March 2016
Christie’s has entrusted its African and Oceanic Art department in Europe to Bruno Claessens.
After growing up in Antwerp, Belgium, Bruno Claessens worked as a researcher into African art at Yale University’s Van Rijn Archives. Having published widely in the domain, he is preparing a new book, Baule Monkeys, to be published this year by Fonds Mercator. The work of Bruno Claessens is notably publicised by his blog on African arts.
Working between Paris and Brussels, Bruno Claessens will be collaborating with Susan Kloman, the department’s global director, and consultant Pierre Amrouche. His appointment is expected to inject new dynamism into the department while keeping up the fine sales results established in Paris. On the occasion of the TEFAF, the department is putting together an upper-end selection, to be placed on sale in New York on 12 May.