The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
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‘Primitive art’ is now recognised as a dismissive term, connoting an outdated Euro-centric attitude which coincided with the height of imperialism, colonialism, and the exploitation of countries by the West.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
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