The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
New York, 16 July 2013
On 15 November, Sotheby’s will conduct the sale of a first part of the Allan Stone Collection, including African, Oceanic and Indonesian art. The second part of the sale will be organised in November 2014.
300 works belonging to the art trader from New York will be offered on auction, thus forming an ensemble estimated at over $20m. Sotheby’s announced that this sale will be the biggest organised in New York since the sale of Helena Rubinstein in 1966. Among the most notable pieces will be sculptures by Songye and Kongo from the Democratic Republic of Congo, including a figure representing the Songye community (79 cm), estimated at more than $1m. Some original works from Nigeria, Cameroun and Mali will also be part of the sale.
A selection of these lots will be exhibited in Paris from 10 to 15 September, on the occasion of the event titled “Parcours des Mondes” (Around the World).
Munster, 16 July 2013
Munster’s Administrative Court rendered an unfavourable decision in regards to Mexico’s request concerning the restitution of 25 pre-Columbian archaeological pieces sold on auction in June 2012 by auction house Lempertz. Therefore, the pieces that were sold will soon be given to their buyers.
Mexico’s claim was based on a German law that was passed on 26 April 2007, stating that restitution can be granted when cultural goods are sold illegally. But the Administrative Court’s decision recalled that this law is not retroactive and cannot be applied for objects that entered Germany before 2007. In accordance, contentious objects from private collections that have been part of these collections for a great number of years cannot be restored.
Paris, 25 June 2013
The sale of African and Oceanic art, held on 19 June at Christie’s Paris, made a total turnover of €7.896m, which is the best result ever for the department.
An important part of the record belongs to the Jolika Collection (Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco), which made $3.172m, becoming the most important collection of Oceanic art ever to be sold on auction. It is also worth noticing that the world record for a piece of Oceanian art was established with the sale of a Biwat Ridgepole Figure, issued from Mid-Yuat, Bas-Sépik, Papoua New Guinea, purchased for €2.505m, far beyond its high estimate of €1m.
In addition, a “Baga Snake” Bansonyi, issued from the Republic of Guinea, was sold for €2.337m and established a new record for Baga art.
Paris, 19 June 2013
On Tuesday 18 June 2013, Sotheby’s Paris held a sale devoted to African art. The session made a turnover of €3.7m, which was much lower than its previous estimates, between €5m and €7m. In addition, almost a half of lots remained unsold (64/120). Lots issued from the Françoise and Jean Corlay collection, featuring pieces originated mainly from Kongo, proved the most unsuccessful.
Among sold lots: an androgynous statue sold for €340,000, below its lowest estimate of €350,000; Songye head rest purchased for €420,000 much beyond its estimation between €120,000 and €180,000.
Finally the auction’s highlight, Yoruba Royal couple (Nigeria) remained unsold. Indeed, bids stopped at €880,000, while its estimation (on demand) was €1m.
Brussels, 4 June 2013
On 8 June 2013, auction house Native will be organising a sale of African and Oceanic items in Brussels.
Among the highlights of the session, let us mention a 16th-century Dogon altar piece from Mali, estimated between €20,000 and €30,000, a Senofu female figure from Ivory Coast, collected before 1940, also estimated between €20,000 and €30,000, Dan masks from Ivory Coast (from €2,000 to €10,000) and a Kanak roof finial, estimated between €10,000 and €15,000. Among other pieces from Oceania is a hei tiki pendant from New Zealand.
Finally, a major lot comprised of an ensemble of lime spatulas from Papua New Guinea, estimated between €800,000 and €1.2m.
New York, 17 May 2013
A rare canoe prow from the Maquesas Islands soared past its pre-sale estimate of $8,000-12,000 to sell for $70,900 dollars at Bonhams May 15 African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art auction at the Madison Avenue salesroom. It was the highest price realised for any Polynesian work of art at auction during Tribal Arts Week in New York.
Decorated with a classic Marquesan tiki figure, the wooden prow – or 'au 'au – would have been attached to the bow of a canoe. Marquesan 'au 'au show carved tiki figures seated and pushed backwards, as if by acceleration, and were primarily intended to be seen in profile as canoes sped through the water.
"This particular Marquesas prow is covered in linear tattooing and has especially naturalistic proportions, including fully articulated legs, which is very rare," explained Bonhams African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art Consultant, Fredric Backlar. "I always felt strongly that it was an exceptional example, and I am pleased bidders agreed."
The auction attracted [.../...]See more
San Francisco, 17 May 2013
Bonhams looks forward to presenting a 523-lot sale of Native American art, June 3 in San Francisco. The sale will feature historic basketry, fine textiles, jewellery, kachina dolls and pottery from various owners, including more than 200 lots of property from the Jim and Lauris Phillips Collection, San Marino, CA. Many examples from the Phillips' amazing basket collection of more than 400 baskets, mostly from California, will be portioned out in this and future sales.
Northwest Coast and Eskimo highlights in the sale will include a food storage box of bentwood construction (est. $35,000-45,000); two separate Northwest Coast Chilkat blankets (est. $30,000-40,000 and $12,000-18,000); and a Haida argillite panel pipe (est. $25,000-35,000). A selection of masks, such as a Yupik Eskimo mask in the form of a seal in an oval frame with a bird head protruding from the bottom (est. $30,000-50,000); an Eskimo mask, conceived as a split-faced entity within the body of a spotted seal (est. $20,000-30,000); and an Alaskan mask - [.../...]See more
New York, 13 May 2013
An extremely rare Chokwe architectural female figure from Angola dating to the early 20th century will lead Bonhams African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art auction on May 15 at the Madison Avenue salesroom (est. $90,000-120,000). Field-collected by Jacques Kerchache, the female figure, covered in ritualistic scarring, and has been widely published and featured in notable museum exhibitions. The well-sculpted head utilises black surfaces on the overall background of red to emphasise several important elements: the striped headdress, long eyebrows, coffee-bean eyes, and widened mouth, all of which has been enhanced with a white pigmentation, a symbol of authority in the Chokwe culture. Standing nearly four feet high, the impressive specimen would have been a part of an aristocratic household. Another superb example of the female form is a Baule Female Figure from the Ivory Coast (est. $20,000-30,000). Most likely carved in the 19th century or earlier, this stylized piece has an exceptional and highly [.../...]See more
Paris, 5 May 2013
On 19 May 2013, Christie’s Paris will be organising a sale devoted to African and Oceanic art.
117 lots will be on offer, estimated between €3.7m and €5.9m, including numerous pieces issued from the Celeste and Armand Bartos Collection. Among the highlights of the sale, let us mention an iconic Baga serpent from the Republic of Guinea, estimated between €800,000 and €1.2m; a Fang Head from Gabon, issued from the Charles Ratton Collection, estimated between €300,000 and €500,000.
Bidders will also be able to attend the dispersion of the Jolika Collection, built throughout the course of four decades by Marcia and John Friede and comprised of over 300 works: it is deemed one of the most important New Guinean art collections.
A selection of fourteen items of African art will be offered by the Art Institute of Chicago, with for instance a Baga D’mba headdress, estimated between €400,000 and €800,000.
A major Canadian collection will put on offer Royal Baham from Cameroon, a Commemorative [.../...]See more
Paris, 28 March 2013
On 21 and 22 March, Sotheby’s in Paris organised a sale on pre-Columbian art. Despite complaints from Peru and Mexico, that asked for the return of the items, the sale gained €10.3m.
The Peruvian Minister of Culture had initiated a claim procedure via the embassy of Paris. He claimed about sixty of the archaeological pieces from Peru presented during the sale. For its part, the Mexican government asked France to cancel the sale of the 51 pre-Columbian items that were part of Mexico’s heritage.
While estimations ranged between €13m and €17m (excluding fees), Sotheby’s explained that among the 313 lots from Central America and South America, 147 of them were sold.
Guillaume Cerutti, the CEO of Sotheby’s France, said that “in spite of the inferior level of the estimations, these results are good considering the context of the sale,” pointing out that it was a world record for a pre-Columbian sale.
Among the lots that were sold: