The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Paris, 7 September 2018
The Aboriginal arts of Australia may be diverse, but they’re characterised by a certain unity and a distinctive identity. An identity that is expressed in multiple ways and variations, all inspired by the common theme dubbed as the “Dreamtime”.
They call it the Dreamtime. Sometimes alternatively written as the “Dream Time” or “Dream-time”, this concept was named by Francis James Gillen, a pioneer in the field of scientific anthropology, who used it to describe the mythology of the Arrernte (from central Australia), one of the 600 Aboriginal ethnic groups that were identified at the time. If there are different ways to write the term, it’s because it’s the translation of the word “Altyerrenge”, drawn from one of the indigenous languages that have existed in Australia for several thousands of years. This lexical hesitation translates our awkwardness in importing a given idea and its representation from another culture. But even if the Dreamtime may be hard for Westerners to grasp, it is nonetheless a key to the Aboriginals’ [.../...]See more
Paris, 20 November 2017
The announcement of the Musée Dapper’s closure in May this year came as sad news. But the foundation suffers from no shortage of projects and intends to refocus on outside-the-walls initiatives. A meeting with its president, Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau.
After thirty years of activity and around fifty exhibitions on its counter, the Musée Dapper closed its doors permanently on 18 June this year. In the face of dropping visitor numbers and overly high operational costs, this private museum, well known for its collection of around 6,000 pieces — including 2,000 ancient works from Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean — was forced to shut. “Maintenance costs were too high, not to mention the cost of putting on exhibitions,” explains Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau, president of the Fondation Dapper. “But the other reason, just as important, is that we wanted to renew ourselves.”
The Fondation Dapper, which Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau set up in 1983 with her husband Michel Leveau, who died in 2012, took on a museum structure in [.../...]See more
Paris, 20 September 2017
A prolific man, Jean Rouch directed more than 180 films. He was also well versed in poetry and ethnology. Today, several institutions are celebrating the centenary of his birth.
In 1957, Jean Rouch released Moi, un Noir, a film shot in pre-independence Cote d’Ivoire, which followed the daily lives of three Nigerian migrants. When the film came out, Jean-Luc Godard wrote three articles about the director and hailed him as the “free man” that he was: “the title on Jean Rouch’s calling card says it all: researcher for the Musée de l’Homme, the Museum of Man. Could a finer definition exist for the filmmaker?” Several years later, in 1960, Godard even contemplated titling his first feature film Moi, un Blanc — which posterity would come to know as À bout de souffle.
Going back to Rouch, this filmmaker discovered Niger at the age of twenty-five, and fervently explored its capital, Niamey, before pushing the doors of Africa open wider. As a connoisseur of the continent, this “free man” produced work that stands out for its [.../...]See more
Paris, 3 September 2017
To celebrate the 40th birthday of the Musée Barbier-Mueller, the Biennale Paris is welcoming a selection of 130 works from this Swiss family’s personal collections. An opportunity to retrace a passion and a saga.
For the Barbier-Muellers, collecting is part of the family history… It started off with the grandfather, Josef Mueller, then continued with the mother, Monique, the father, Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, and today the three sons, Gabriel, Stéphane, Thierry, as well as Diane, one of the granddaughters. Four generations of collectors that the Biennale Paris has chosen to honour through a selection of works from their collection, some of which have never been unveiled to the public. “The idea was to set up a dialogue between major pieces from four generations of collectors with very different tastes by recreating the atmosphere of Josef Mueller’s apartment, where modern paintings stood alongside primitive-art objects,” is the way that Laurence Mattet, director of the Musée Barbier-Mueller in Geneva, puts it. Sculptures and [.../...]See more
Paris, 3 September 2017
A.d.M.: First of all, the fact that it’s gathered very coherent sets of objects, as precious as they’re simple. The archaeological bronzes of the Vietnamese Dông Son civilisation comes to mind, but also the African chairs, a legacy of Josef Mueller that Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller took care to add to. It’s also a universal collection which gathers objects from Africa as well as Oceania or Indonesia. Not forgetting its Pre-Columbian art objects which comprise a key collection. It’s also exceptional for the rarity of certain pieces that are listed nowhere else… and for the beauty that unites all the objects.
A.d.M.: For his eye that was so unique and accurate… and his great erudition. Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller was a cultivated man who left nothing to chance. When he started up a collection, he invested in it entirely. He studied every object, consulted the best ethnologists and historians. He [.../...]See more
Standing Rock, 28 October 2016
Over 1,200 museum directors and curators, archaeologists, anthropologists, researchers and experts have signed a petition to stop the construction of a pipeline in Dakota on ancestral Amerindian land. Decorated in 2014 by the American Medal of Freedom, Suzan Shown Harjo, from the Cheyenne and Muscogee tribes, also declared that this pipeline “violated existing religious freedom, cultural rights, historic, environmental, and archaeological laws by failing to consult with the Standing Rock and other Sioux nations, and most recently by denying descendants access to the sacred place and enforcing the ban with attack dogs and other weapons (…). Native people and supporters urge official actions to stop this shameful project permanently.”
New York, 18 October 2016
On 22 September, in New York, three dealers from the Metropolitan Fine Arts and Antiques gallery were arrested for the unauthorised sale of ivory pieces, paying no heed to a 2014 law to limit the ivory market. Representatives from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation found in the gallery 126 objects valued at $4.5 million. The operation was initially devoted to the search for a $2,000 statuette sculpted from mammoth ivory.
Paris, 18 March 2016
Christie’s has entrusted its African and Oceanic Art department in Europe to Bruno Claessens.
After growing up in Antwerp, Belgium, Bruno Claessens worked as a researcher into African art at Yale University’s Van Rijn Archives. Having published widely in the domain, he is preparing a new book, Baule Monkeys, to be published this year by Fonds Mercator. The work of Bruno Claessens is notably publicised by his blog on African arts.
Working between Paris and Brussels, Bruno Claessens will be collaborating with Susan Kloman, the department’s global director, and consultant Pierre Amrouche. His appointment is expected to inject new dynamism into the department while keeping up the fine sales results established in Paris. On the occasion of the TEFAF, the department is putting together an upper-end selection, to be placed on sale in New York on 12 May.
Paris, 7 January 2016
In 1990, the American professor Joseph Nye developed, in his book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, the idea of “soft power”. Used in the field of international relations, this concept describes the ability of a political actor to influence indirectly – by means of structural, cultural or ideological – and without coercion, the behaviour of other actors.
Twenty-five years later, Gail Dexter Lord -co-founder and co-president of Lord Cultural Resources– and Ngaire Blankenberg – senior consultant at Lord Cultural Resources -proposed an update of the concept of soft power, by operating in particular a displacement of its scope (Cities, Museums and Soft Power, The AAM Press, 2015). Art Media Agency met Gail Dexter Lord for more information.
Soft power means the will and ability to influence people and cause behaviour through peaceful and cultural means. It is opposed to hard power, more coercive.
Today, we think that it is [.../...]See more
Paris, 5 January 2016
Fraud, money laundering, trafficking in cultural property, tax optimization, artificial increases of prices, confidentiality and anonymity… many dangerous hurdles, attributed to the art market, that for many elude to rules that have become an imperative necessity. Among the scandals involving diverse spheres of personalities and perplexed records in auction sales, we can equally cite a loss in standardisation and harmonization in the legal international disposals and especially the specificities of a lost market by subjectivity – justifying an irregularity and exaggeration of prices. The whole thing is encircled by an opaqueness and rigour silence. So which solutions are implemented today, for more clarity on the market that condenses as many singular facts?
The unexplored darkness of the tired and shaking art market
The USA Today, after the success of the autumn sales in New York, headlined: “Has art become a criminal enterprise?” Soaring prices, sometimes verging on irrational, leaves some [.../...]See more