The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Paris, 12 December 2014
On 10 December 2014 Sotheby’s Paris realised €12 million in sales of Oceanic and African art including the sale of the Alexis Bonew collection which brought in €6.2 million of the day’s turnover.
This, the last sale of the year for the African and Oceanic arts department, realised almost half of the department’s total sales for the year — €26 million, a record for the auction house. The large majority of the Alexis Bonew collection was acquired, including a muminia Lega mask, realising €3,569,500, the second highest price ever realised for an African mask, whilst the Nkonde statue almost doubled its high estimate of €800,000, bringing in a total of €1,553,500.
The second sale of the day featured various amateur works from Oceania and the African continent, with the record for the most expensive work from Easter Island being broken during the sale. The piece in question is a Rapa, an abstraction of the human form, which realised €1,889,500, far [.../...]See more
Paris, 3 December 2014
On 10 December 2014, Artcurial will be holding their second Tribal Art sale of the year, offering the contents of three major private collections.
The first collection, belonging to Liuba and Ernesto Wolf, comprises 127 African spoons; the second, belonging to M. and Mme Robert Hendrickx from Brussels, includes a historic group of 15 Dogon sculptures; and the third, from Paris, comprises 24 combs. The sale also includes a royal Luba pipe from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as an extremely rare Guro mask, by the Master of Bouaflé, from the Ivory Coast.
“Artcurial’s decision to make Tribal Art a permanent department demonstrates the confidence that we have in this speciality. The wonderful quality of the work presented in the sale, the documented and prestigious provenance and the coherence of the collections offered, will appeal to a demanding and highly competitive market”, said Artcurial.
New York, 11 November 2014
During Sotheby’s New York’s Tuesday evening sale on 11 November, an African statue originating from either the Ivory Coast or Burkina Faso reached $12 million (premium included).
The piece comes from the collection of the late businessman Myron Kunin whose fortune was built on his hair salon chain. Prior to Kunin, the statue had passed through the hands of collectors including sculptor Arman, psychologist Werner Muensterberger and curator William Rubin and has also been exhibited at MoMA New York and at the Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland. The Sikasso-style piece’s Modernist qualities have been compared to the work of Alberto Giacometti, the early 20th-century Swiss sculptor.
French newspaper Le Figaro reports a fierce bidding war between French dealer Bernard Dulon, who dropped out at $8.8 million, and a telephone bidder who took the piece, possibly for the collection of a prestigious North American Museum, according to Bernard de Grunne who initially sold the piece for $1 [.../...]See more
Beijing, 26 October 2014
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2 to 5% of global GDP is laundered money; in currency, $800 million to $2 trillion. The art market, notoriously opaque and uncontrollable, is one in which a staggering amount of this criminal activity takes place, where ‘dirty’ money obtained from illegal activity is laundered into legal tender. Worldwide cases of money laundering and illegal activity conducted through the purchase and sale of artwork are far from uncommon, with cases involving high profile figures such as Edemar Cid Ferreira, the Brazilian ex-banker who laundered millions of dollars through a collection of 12,000 works, and art dealer Helly Nahmad, who was caught on tape arranging the price increase of a Raoul Dufy painting he was selling, and explaining his plans to split the profit with another member of his gambling ring.
However, the phenomenon is particularly rife in the Asian art market, with one auctioneer estimating that 30%-50% of works in the market are related to the [.../...]See more
Paris, 26 June 2014
On 19 June, Christie’s Paris held two sales dedicated to African, Oceanic and North American artworks, as well as works from the collection of Rudolf and Leonore Blum. 119 out of the 175 proposed lots were sold, totalling €5,964,075.
Four new world records were set at the sales. As stated by Susan Kloman, International Director of the Department of African and Oceanic Art: “the collection of Rudolf and Leonore Blum attracted particular interest from collectors, realising a total of €3,616,600, 96% by lot and by value, doubling the estimate. The highest-selling lot was a Luba Shankadi headrest, which realised €661,500, against an estimate of €200,000-300,000, whilst a Dan mask from the Ivory Coast, sold for €721,500, broke the world record for an object of this ethnic origin.”
Würzburg, 19 June 2014
On 28 June, Zemanek-Münster is to present a sale dedicated to works of Tribal Art at its auction house in Würzburg. Many of the lots on offer demonstrate how Tribal Art from the African continent has influenced the wider art world, paying particular attention to the strong links between Tribal and Modern Art.
Prior to their presentation at Zemanek-Münster, the works are on exhibition at the Fernandez Leventhal Gallery in Paris.
Heralding the 77th auction of Tribal Art, the sale comprises several noteworthy lots, contributing to the genre’s international reputation. Lot 132, Antelope dance crest — estimated at €18-30,000 — comes from the collection of the famous Parisian collector Philippe Ratton, whose uncle, Charles Ratton, was friends with many Modern artists. The work is of particular interest as it displays strong references to Cubism.
Further noteworthy lots include lot 309, a Janiform (Janus) bush spirit shrine figure, from Nigeria. A bush spirit which protects against human and superhuman [.../...]See more
Paris, 18 June 2014
Today’s sale of African & Oceanic Art at Sotheby’s Paris totalled €6,267,000 ($8,513,531), with almost 85% sold by value. Highlight was unquestionably the Fang Mabea figure that was sold for €4,353,500 ($5,914,099) well above its high estimate of €3.5m: a world auction record for a Fang figure, and the third-highest price for a work of African Art ever achieved at auction. This masterly figure, chosen to illustrate the cover of the specialist ‘bible’ L’Art Africain by Kerchache, Paudrat & Stéphan (published by Mazenod in 1988), formerly belonged to Félix Fénéon and Jacques Kerchache.
To Marguerite de Sabran, Head of African & Oceanic Art at Sotheby’s Paris, “This exceptional sculpture is the work of a virtuoso artist, and surpasses Time and Geography to attain the status of a Universal work of art. Its aesthetics and power fascinated Félix Fénéon and Jacques Kerchache, two [.../...]See more
Paris, 18 June 2014
On 11 June, Tajan auction house sold a Guro mask from the Ivory Coast for €1,375,000 (including tax). The only piece in the sale dedicated to Primitive art, it was estimated at between €100,000 and 150,000. The final result marks a world record for the sale of a Guro mask.
This impressive result can be explained by the mask’s aesthetic quality and style: its creation can be attributed to someone known as the “Master of Bouaflé”, an anonymous sculptor. Only a few works by this hand have survived. As well as the aesthetic aspect, the quality of the mask’s various parts explains its high value. It is most likely that collector and art dealer Paul Guillaume brought the mask back from Africa, and it was then acquired by André Breton and, later still, Charles Ratton.
New York, 15 May 2014
Bonhams, the third largest international fine art auction house, achieved both a world record for a Maori wood weapon sold at auction and the highest price for a Polynesian work of art at auction during its African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art sale on May 15. The work to set such records was an important and rare wooden Maori Handclub 'wahaika' from New Zealand, formerly in the James Hooper Collection, that sold for $62,500.
The sale was well attended with spirited bidding for Oceanic art in the auction room, over the phones and online. Worldwide interest was seen in a selection of Austral Islands ceremonial paddles on offer in the sale, most of which achieved prices above their pre-sale estimates.
According to Fred Backlar, Specialist of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art at Bonhams, the auction demonstrated the strength of Oceanic art in the Tribal market. "It is an area where the Surrealists originally drew inspiration for their art," he commented.
Notable in the auction were [.../...]See more
Paris, 17 April 2014,
In art, a quantitative approach is often given bad press. Those who pursue analyses based on value are often accused of relegating the importance of art works themselves – reducing them to mere financial assets. A number of dealers pretend to ignore the industry’s financial side, placing a stronger emphasis on the aesthetic or emotional aspect of their work. The reality of the market, however, means that financial considerations remain – and are increasingly – a vital component of the art world.
Art has often sought to avoid an association with finance and has, in part, succeeded. A work of art – even one considered to have little financial worth – is capable of attaining a very personal value which a treasury bond will never reach. Yet, in the context of an increasingly liquid market affected by ongoing inflation, information is key; thus, the importance of accurate data sources becomes increasingly important.
In the 1990s, a number of data specialists used the development of the [.../...]See more