The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Paris, 20 September 2017
A prolific man, Jean Rouch directed more than 180 films. He was also well versed in poetry and ethnology. Today, several institutions are celebrating the centenary of his birth.
In 1957, Jean Rouch released Moi, un Noir, a film shot in pre-independence Cote d’Ivoire, which followed the daily lives of three Nigerian migrants. When the film came out, Jean-Luc Godard wrote three articles about the director and hailed him as the “free man” that he was: “the title on Jean Rouch’s calling card says it all: researcher for the Musée de l’Homme, the Museum of Man. Could a finer definition exist for the filmmaker?” Several years later, in 1960, Godard even contemplated titling his first feature film Moi, un Blanc — which posterity would come to know as À bout de souffle.
Going back to Rouch, this filmmaker discovered Niger at the age of twenty-five, and fervently explored its capital, Niamey, before pushing the doors of Africa open wider. As a connoisseur of the continent, this “free man” produced work that stands out for its [.../...]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 September 2017
A.d.M.: First of all, the fact that it’s gathered very coherent sets of objects, as precious as they’re simple. The archaeological bronzes of the Vietnamese Dông Son civilisation comes to mind, but also the African chairs, a legacy of Josef Mueller that Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller took care to add to. It’s also a universal collection which gathers objects from Africa as well as Oceania or Indonesia. Not forgetting its Pre-Columbian art objects which comprise a key collection. It’s also exceptional for the rarity of certain pieces that are listed nowhere else… and for the beauty that unites all the objects.
A.d.M.: For his eye that was so unique and accurate… and his great erudition. Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller was a cultivated man who left nothing to chance. When he started up a collection, he invested in it entirely. He studied every object, consulted the best ethnologists and historians. He [.../...]See more
Standing Rock, 28 October 2016
Over 1,200 museum directors and curators, archaeologists, anthropologists, researchers and experts have signed a petition to stop the construction of a pipeline in Dakota on ancestral Amerindian land. Decorated in 2014 by the American Medal of Freedom, Suzan Shown Harjo, from the Cheyenne and Muscogee tribes, also declared that this pipeline “violated existing religious freedom, cultural rights, historic, environmental, and archaeological laws by failing to consult with the Standing Rock and other Sioux nations, and most recently by denying descendants access to the sacred place and enforcing the ban with attack dogs and other weapons (…). Native people and supporters urge official actions to stop this shameful project permanently.”
New York, 18 October 2016
On 22 September, in New York, three dealers from the Metropolitan Fine Arts and Antiques gallery were arrested for the unauthorised sale of ivory pieces, paying no heed to a 2014 law to limit the ivory market. Representatives from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation found in the gallery 126 objects valued at $4.5 million. The operation was initially devoted to the search for a $2,000 statuette sculpted from mammoth ivory.
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.
Paris, 7 January 2016
In 1990, the American professor Joseph Nye developed, in his book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, the idea of “soft power”. Used in the field of international relations, this concept describes the ability of a political actor to influence indirectly – by means of structural, cultural or ideological – and without coercion, the behaviour of other actors.
Twenty-five years later, Gail Dexter Lord -co-founder and co-president of Lord Cultural Resources– and Ngaire Blankenberg – senior consultant at Lord Cultural Resources -proposed an update of the concept of soft power, by operating in particular a displacement of its scope (Cities, Museums and Soft Power, The AAM Press, 2015). Art Media Agency met Gail Dexter Lord for more information.
Soft power means the will and ability to influence people and cause behaviour through peaceful and cultural means. It is opposed to hard power, more coercive.
Today, we think that it is [.../...]See more
Paris, 5 January 2016
Fraud, money laundering, trafficking in cultural property, tax optimization, artificial increases of prices, confidentiality and anonymity… many dangerous hurdles, attributed to the art market, that for many elude to rules that have become an imperative necessity. Among the scandals involving diverse spheres of personalities and perplexed records in auction sales, we can equally cite a loss in standardisation and harmonization in the legal international disposals and especially the specificities of a lost market by subjectivity – justifying an irregularity and exaggeration of prices. The whole thing is encircled by an opaqueness and rigour silence. So which solutions are implemented today, for more clarity on the market that condenses as many singular facts?
The unexplored darkness of the tired and shaking art market
The USA Today, after the success of the autumn sales in New York, headlined: “Has art become a criminal enterprise?” Soaring prices, sometimes verging on irrational, leaves some [.../...]See more
Dallas, 25 September 2015
On 25 September 2015, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) has celebrated the public opening of its new third-floor Arts of Africa Gallery.
The museum’s Arts of Africa gallery is the first major redesign in nearly twenty years and the new space will feature more than 170 works from the museum’s African art collection. “The opening of the new Arts of Africa gallery offers a fresh perspective on the DMA’s exemplary collection,” said Maxwell Anderson, the Eugene McDermott Director. “We are excited to present several works that have been recently acquired or off view for some time, and to welcome a broad public to learn about the rich heritage of sub-Saharan Africa.” The collection features art from the Songye and Luba cultures in Central Africa and the Yoruba and Edo (Benin kingdom) in West Africa.
Representing and revealing the extraordinary diversity of sub-Saharan cultures and visual traditions, the gallery is installed in fived sections according to the themes of the art of [.../...]See more
Luanda, 22 August, 2015
Congolese collector Sindika Dokolo is launching a vast campaign to return works stolen in Africa during the colonial period.
To carry out this endeavor, the Sindika Dokolo Foundation in Louanda, Angola, has called upon a team of specialists to discover works that were pilfered during colonisation in private collections and auctions. Where applicable, the owner is asked to resell the work to the foundation at their purchase price or be sued for theft. In this regard, Sindika Dokolo told the New York Times: “There are works that disappeared from Africa and are now circulating on the world market based on obvious lies about how they got there.” This radical position has certainly stirred up opposition. Interviewed by Art Media Agency, Belgian tribal art dealer Pierre Loos expressed his reservations on the query, “Shouldn’t all the Picasso’s be in Spain? […] Returning to the logic of restitution is to open Pandora’s box. Those who profit are not art lovers, but those [.../...]See more