The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Paris, 5 November 2019
Pieces that should be displayed in museums. For its sale of African and Oceania arts on 14 November in Drouot, Binoche & Giquello is focusing on exceptional works, particularly with the dispersion of the Maurice Nicaud collection and the masks from Burkina Faso from Thomas G. B. Wheelock.
The Nicaud collection marks the end of his succession. This final session illustrates the epic story of this collector-dealer who, like Helene Kamer, was one of the first to bring back traditional objects from Guinea in the early 1950s, before the country fell entirely under the control of President Sékou Touré at the time of the country’s independence in 1958. “What allowed Maurice Nicaud – or Hélène Kamer – to bring back those very beautiful objects was also this very specific political situation,” explains Patrick Caput, the sales expert. Even before becoming president, Sékou Touré had already tried to destroy animist cultures. Around the same time, a number of Muslim preachers arrived in the villages and martyred the populations, burning the [.../...]See more
New York, 4 November 2019
It is simply the most beautiful collection of ethnic headrests in the world. On 11 November 11, Bonhams is about to put on sale in New York the famous Graham Beck collection. In 2005, the South African businessman and philanthropist acquired this unique set of African and Oceania headrests from Jonathan Lowen, a South African-born lawyer who lived in London.
Absolutely passionate about these artifacts, which are rather discreet in private collections, he had built up a unique collection over the years, notably with works from South Africa and Zimbabwe. “Jonathan Lowen started collecting headrests in the late 1960s when he arrived in London, but was homesick,” explains Fred Backlar, the sales expert who met the collector a few years ago. “The majority of his collection was sold to the Johannesburg Art Gallery in the 1980s. After that, Lowen resumed and refined his collecting.” Under the impetus of South African artist and curator Karel Nel, Graham Beck bought from him his entire collection with the intention of creating a museum [.../...]See more
Amsterdam, 28 September 2019
For the 17th time, the Tribal Art Fair is taking place in the wonderful De Duif church in the centre of Amsterdam. Twenty galleries will be exhibiting their most exceptional pieces. There will also be a programme featuring readings and films. For example, unique amateur film images captured in Papua in 1961 will be screened.
The Tribal Art Fair is one of the four most important ethnographic fairs in Europe. This is reflected in the international character of the fair. Participants come from various countries, such as the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Thailand and the USA, and visitors travel to Amsterdam from all over the world to visit the fair too. The fair is of interest to anyone who wants to find out more about tribal art. Guided tours are organised and you can find out information from the gallery owners. Of course, there’s also plenty for long-standing collectors to see.
Tribal art is about so much more than masks and sculptures. It also encompasses textiles, jewellery and utensils. It goes without saying that this diversity [.../...]See more
Brussels, 30 September 2019
Opened in 2011, at 5 rue Ruysbroeck, in the Sablon district of Brussels, by two former collaborators of the German company Lempertz, on 5 October at 6 pm the Native gallery and auction house organises its fourth auction session of the year (the second one to have been catalogued) dedicated to the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
Brought together from several private collections, 102 lots will be offered, including a Songye bust in horn, pins in brass, metal and various other materials, which, since the 1970s, has passed through the Pierre Dartevelle and Philippe Guimiot galleries, before its acquisition by a Belgian amateur, whose heirs wished to remain anonymous. This piece, estimated between 20,000 and 30,000 euros, could be part of a group of four sculptures with the same stylistic characteristics of the Second Tradition, according to François Neyt, author of the book Songye : Redoutable statuaire Songye d’Afrique centrale and specialist of the culture of Bantu people living in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of [.../...]See more
No monograph had so far treated the sculpture Uli from New Ireland (Papua New Guinea) with an exhaustive and analytical approach. This is soon to be done, with a book to be published in December under the direction of Jean-Philippe Beaulieu.
Science in discussion… Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, before becoming an ethnologist or art historian, was an astrophysicist. A specialist in exoplanets, he is currently CNRS research director at the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris. After many trips to New Ireland since 2002, he has explored Europe and its museum reserves to constitute the first reference monograph on Uli sculpture.
How did this project come about?
I have always had a strong interest in the arts. I first encountered those from the Oceania through Surrealism. After a first trip to New Guinea in 1997, the deep-rooted traditions left a strong impression on me. After a few pilgrimages, especially around the Sepik, I wanted to head for New Ireland, intrigued by the aesthetics of the Malangas, these figures made for burial and memorial ceremonies of the dead. So I [.../...]See more
Paris 3 September 2019
With over twenty years experience in African and Oceanian tribal art, Adrian Schlag now divides his time between Brussels ; where he opened a gallery on the Rue des Minimes in the late 1990s; and Ibiza, where he lives in the middle of nature for part of the year when not visiting his clients in Europe and the United States.
On the heels of Bruneaf (Brussels Non European Art Fair) in June, this renown dealer and member of the Royal Chamber of Antique Dealers of Belgium and the Belgium Chamber of Art Experts, will participate in the 18th edition of Parcours des Mondes, Paris 10-15 September, a must go-to for primitive art lovers.
Archaic pieces can still be found
Schlag’s gallery is located at the Bouquinerie de L’Institut in the fine arts district of Saint-Germain-des-Près. A highlight of the 15 pieces presented is a 67 cm wooden statuette representing an ancestral figure of the Septik-Ramu tradition (Papua New Guinea), formerly part of Gisela and Heinrich Wellmann’s collection which was acquired in Bremen between 1923 and 1978. [.../...]See more
Vienna, 1st July 2019
Jan Joris Visser, in house tribal art specialist, has brought together three collections of 87 lots to be auctioned on 8 July at Dorotheum in Vienna. These objects, originating from Africa, Asia and Oceania, and numerous pieces from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, herald from the collections of Benno Mattel, Carlo Monzino and Willem Visser.
The latter is not related to the auction house specialist, he was the very first white doctor sent by the Dutch government to the Asmat region of Papua, where his health missions to the most remote tribes and villages earned him several hundred “gifts”. This unique collection was loaned to the Royal Ethnographic Museum (now the Museum of Ethnology) in Leiden, the Netherlands, and has not been exhibited for 70 years.
“Benno Mattel was a very secret collector, of whom we know little, with the exception of his collection, which today belongs for the most part to national museums in Uruguay [in particular the MAAM, Museo de Arte Americano de Maldonado, editor’s note],” says Visser.
Carlo Monzino is, [.../...]See more
Paris, 11 June 2019
For Marceau Rivière it was a case of love at first sight for the African continent, and his collection which was born in the early sixties would become one of the most comprehensive and striking within the field.
His fascination for Africa began during his childhood when he watched a film on the Congo, shown by a missionary visiting his region, and since then has never left him. He began collecting at an early age buying his first mask at the age of 11, a mask he still has today. In 1957 he joined the French camel corps in Algeria and worked for the first time for the Bardo Museum in Algiers. He was demobilised in 1961 and joined the airline UTA as an engineering technician. His new job enabled him to live in Africa, particularly in Chad, the birthplace of the Sao civilisation. For more than 20 years, his work took him around the whole of the African continent, allowing him to develop friendships with village chiefs, and researching indigenous art and customs wherever he went.
During this period he began to form the vast and wide-ranging [.../...]See more
New York, 8 May 2019
No less than 115 works of African and Oceanic art will be on display at the Bonhams auction in New York on May 13, starting at 5pm.
“This careful and rigorous selection comes from several private American collections, but also from Europe and the Pacific region,” says Fred Backlar, US-based primitive arts specialist and consultant for the British auction house.
Among several major pieces presented in the African art selection, a reliquary figure from Kota-Ndassa, established in eastern Gabon, is of particular interest. 51 centimetres high, this statuette was originally obtained by a school for pastors and teachers in Kimpese, Congo, and has been written about as early as 1940. The lot (#99) is estimated at between $250,000 and $350,000.
A pair of Dogon or Tellem statuettes (lot 78), originating from Mali and dating from the 19th century or earlier and exhibited by Philippe Guimiot in Brussels in 1994, shares the same high estimate. A magnificent maternity Bangwa figure, from Cameroon (lot #97), initially [.../...]See more
New York, 8 May 2019
Exhibited in New York since 2nd May, nearly 90 works of Pacific art from Harry A. Franklin’s collection will be auctioned at Sotheby’s on 13 May as part of the spring session organised by the American auction house.
A pioneer in the trade of arts from Africa and Oceania after a initial career in textiles, Harry A. Franklin established himself as a reference in the 1950s and 1960s and “converted” many collectors on the west coast of the United States to his cause. His gallery, located in Beverly Hills, was a privileged meeting place for anthropologists, art lovers, great travellers, politicians and film stars, such as Jacques Lipchitz, Nelson Rockefeller, John Huston, Frank Sinatra and Paul Newman.
After the death of the Californian merchant in 1983 (at age 79), a first auction, organised at Sotheby’s on the initiative of his daughter, Valérie Franklin-Nordin, made the headlines in April 1990, thanks in particular to the record sale, for $3.4 million, of a statue of Cameroon, known as “Queen Bangwa” [.../...]See more