The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
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
New York, 28 March 2014, Art Media Agency (AMA).
The second session of the sale of the collection of Allan Stone is to take place on 16 May at Sotheby’s New York.
It is to present works of African, Pre-Colombian, and Native American art. The first session of pieces collected by the famous art dealer took place in November 2013, achieving $11,489,750 — one of the most significant totals for an auction of African and Oceanian art, with a sell-through rate of 94%. The auction’s major lot, a sculpture of a Songye Power Figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was sold to the Dallas Museum of Art for $2,165,000.
Allan Stone (1932-2006) acquired his first Nkisi sculpture in 1954, while he was still a student. In 1960 he opened a gallery in New York, where he juxtaposed African sculpture with artworks by Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Joseph Cornell, John Graham, John Chamberlain and Arman, engendering dialogue and exchange between the two. Over the course of the decades that followed he [.../...]See more
San Francisco, 9 February 2014
Bonhams will hold its annual Art of the South Seas auction February 9 in San Francisco, representing all parts of Oceania, with works from Australia, Indonesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. The sale will feature approximately 184 quality works for beginning and tenured collectors alike.
Highlights will commence with a very rare, 12¾ inch-tall, wood fisherman's god from Rarotonga Island of the Cook Islands, from the late 19th century/early 20th century (est. $6,000-9,000).
From there, standing out in the sale, will be an extremely rare Maori short club, or mere, from New Zealand, made of Greenstone/Nephrite jade (est. $40,000-60,000). The only other known short club to feature a manaia head carved at its bottom exists within The Maori Collections of the British Museum. Historically, such short clubs were both insignia of male warrior status and weapons, and were carried in the belt with a short wrist-cord to prevent loss in combat.
Also in the auction from New Zealand will [.../...]See more
Paris, 10 September 2013
Tribal Art has witnessed a long and complex evolution, with European art history oscillating wildly in its attitude to the genre. Once referred to pejoratively as ‘primitive art’, tribal art has since been recognised for the important influence it had on the works of Expressionist, Surrealist and Cubist artists. Now, the field is recognised as rich and diverse, with museums, galleries and collectors across the globe placing an important focus on the works of indigenous peoples from Africa, North America and Oceania. Artkhade with Art Media Agency examined the platforms which are specialising in the genre today, looking at the presence of Tribal Art in Galleries, Museums, at auction houses and in dealerships.
A Slow Rise to Success
‘Primitive art’ is now recognised as a dismissive term, connoting an outdated Euro-centric attitude which coincided with the height of imperialism, colonialism, and the exploitation of countries by the West. The title connoted the belief that [.../...]See more
New York, 15 August 2013
On September 16, Bonhams will present "Chinese Art from the Scholar's Studio," a select group of fine Chinese furniture, paintings, snuff bottles, scholar's objects and devotional pieces. Bringing together a variety of collecting categories, art from the scholar's studio focuses on Chinese artworks of exceptional quality that are fresh to the market. "For a millennium, Chinese aesthetics have been dominated by two powerful groups: the imperial court and the refined tastemakers of the scholarly elite," notes Bruce MacLaren, Bonhams' senior specialist for Chinese art in the New York office. "Whereas the emperor's studios would produce objects that would often loudly proclaim the power and position of the throne, scholar's taste leaned towards quieter pronouncements of their authority." The auction will feature several magnificent examples of furniture constructed of Huanghuali, a coveted tropical hardwood, highly desired for elegant furnishings. Among the lots offered is an elegantly [.../...]See more
Paris, 19 July 2013
Survival International, an organisation that works to protect tribal peoples, has returned a mask taken from Arizona’s Hopi people, after it was controversially sold at Parisian auction house Drouot in 2013.
Lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber who acquired the piece via Drouot with the intention of returning it to the Hopi people, considers the restitution of the work as a small success in a much larger fight: “It is my way of telling the Hopi that we only lost a battle and not the war. I am convinced that in the future, those who believe that not everything should be up for sale will prevail. In the meantime, the Hopi will not have lost everything since two of these sacred objects have been saved from being sold.”
For the Hopi people, the commercialisation of these sacred works, and their presentation in public, is hugely offensive. Survival International requested that the sale be suspended, though the demand was repeatedly denied by the Parisian crown court, and a sale of the works was [.../...]See more