The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Vienna, 1st July 2019
Jan Joris Visser, in house tribal art specialist, has brought together three collections of 87 lots to be auctioned on 8 July at Dorotheum in Vienna. These objects, originating from Africa, Asia and Oceania, and numerous pieces from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, herald from the collections of Benno Mattel, Carlo Monzino and Willem Visser.
The latter is not related to the auction house specialist, he was the very first white doctor sent by the Dutch government to the Asmat region of Papua, where his health missions to the most remote tribes and villages earned him several hundred “gifts”. This unique collection was loaned to the Royal Ethnographic Museum (now the Museum of Ethnology) in Leiden, the Netherlands, and has not been exhibited for 70 years.
“Benno Mattel was a very secret collector, of whom we know little, with the exception of his collection, which today belongs for the most part to national museums in Uruguay [in particular the MAAM, Museo de Arte Americano de Maldonado, editor’s note],” says Visser.
Carlo Monzino is, [.../...]See more
Paris, 11 June 2019
For Marceau Rivière it was a case of love at first sight for the African continent, and his collection which was born in the early sixties would become one of the most comprehensive and striking within the field.
His fascination for Africa began during his childhood when he watched a film on the Congo, shown by a missionary visiting his region, and since then has never left him. He began collecting at an early age buying his first mask at the age of 11, a mask he still has today. In 1957 he joined the French camel corps in Algeria and worked for the first time for the Bardo Museum in Algiers. He was demobilised in 1961 and joined the airline UTA as an engineering technician. His new job enabled him to live in Africa, particularly in Chad, the birthplace of the Sao civilisation. For more than 20 years, his work took him around the whole of the African continent, allowing him to develop friendships with village chiefs, and researching indigenous art and customs wherever he went.
During this period he began to form the vast and wide-ranging [.../...]See more
New York, 8 May 2019
No less than 115 works of African and Oceanic art will be on display at the Bonhams auction in New York on May 13, starting at 5pm.
“This careful and rigorous selection comes from several private American collections, but also from Europe and the Pacific region,” says Fred Backlar, US-based primitive arts specialist and consultant for the British auction house.
Among several major pieces presented in the African art selection, a reliquary figure from Kota-Ndassa, established in eastern Gabon, is of particular interest. 51 centimetres high, this statuette was originally obtained by a school for pastors and teachers in Kimpese, Congo, and has been written about as early as 1940. The lot (#99) is estimated at between $250,000 and $350,000.
A pair of Dogon or Tellem statuettes (lot 78), originating from Mali and dating from the 19th century or earlier and exhibited by Philippe Guimiot in Brussels in 1994, shares the same high estimate. A magnificent maternity Bangwa figure, from Cameroon (lot #97), initially [.../...]See more
New York, 8 May 2019
Exhibited in New York since 2nd May, nearly 90 works of Pacific art from Harry A. Franklin’s collection will be auctioned at Sotheby’s on 13 May as part of the spring session organised by the American auction house.
A pioneer in the trade of arts from Africa and Oceania after a initial career in textiles, Harry A. Franklin established himself as a reference in the 1950s and 1960s and “converted” many collectors on the west coast of the United States to his cause. His gallery, located in Beverly Hills, was a privileged meeting place for anthropologists, art lovers, great travellers, politicians and film stars, such as Jacques Lipchitz, Nelson Rockefeller, John Huston, Frank Sinatra and Paul Newman.
After the death of the Californian merchant in 1983 (at age 79), a first auction, organised at Sotheby’s on the initiative of his daughter, Valérie Franklin-Nordin, made the headlines in April 1990, thanks in particular to the record sale, for $3.4 million, of a statue of Cameroon, known as “Queen Bangwa” [.../...]See more
Brussels, 21 January 2019
For lovers of tribal art, modern art and design, the famous Native Auction House is holding an exceptional auction on 26 January. In its Brussels premises, which experts consider one of the European temples of the African and Oceania art market, Native will present, on that day, among the main prizes, many treasures from the personal collection of German historian Helmut Zake.
Helmut Zake, former Director of Foreign Student Services and International Relations at the University of Heidelberg, acquired his first African works in the 1960s. Both charismatic and friends of famous merchants – such as Walter Kaiser – he founded the Heidelberg Gesprächskreis von Sammlern und Ethnologen, a discussion society more commonly known as the Zake Circle, which brought together ethnography lovers and African art collectors from all over Germany but also from Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands. “Through this circle”, says Nicolas Paszukiewicz, co-leader of Native, “Helmut Zake focused on defining the aesthetic canons that appealed to his [.../...]See more
Paris, 29 November 2018
Saturday 12 December, Sotheby's is organising two exceptional sales of African and Oceanic art to conclude the tribal year in style. From 3pm onwards, many lots from the anonymous collection of “Monsieur Z” will be dispersed. The session will be divided into three essential parts, illustrating the life and career of this discreet collector.
Since the end of the Second World War, Z has been involved in the avant-garde artistic circles that have emerged in the Brussels region. He works with the members of the CoBrA group: Pierre Alechinsky, Christian Dotremont, Karel Appel or Asger Jorn. He acquires remarkable works directly from these artists over the years. Through its choices and affinities, the Z collection perfectly illustrates the spirit of the group, as Christian Dotremont reminds us: “art must have roots”. A thought common to Z, which at the same time enriches its collection of tribal artworks (Africa and Oceania). As Corneille, a member of the CoBrA group, points out, “African art [...] is a primary art [...] which has not yet [.../...]See more
Vienna, 28 November 2018
On Tuesday 4 December there will be a remarkable tribal art session at Dorotheum in Vienna. To mark the end of the year, the auctions will be held in line with the theme of the four elements (Earth, Fire, Ether, Water). No less than 130 objects from several private collections will be scattered under the gaze of amateurs from all over the world. 85 of them are from the Franco Monti collection, one of the leading figures in the history of tribal art in the 20th century.
Born in Milan in 1931, Franco Monti became involved in sculpture in the 1950s. He developed a formal vocabulary of raw and bold lines, using clay and stone as the medium. Collectivity quickly caught up with him, and he soon attended the scholarly circles of the French school of anthropology. It is in this context that he made his first trips to sub-Saharan Africa. He acquires treasures from the contact with local cultures. Back in Europe, he organised exhibitions of African art, particularly in Italy. He works with the famous creators Giacometti, Marini, Fontana, Chirico, but also [.../...]See more
Paris, 28 November 2018
Notice to lovers of tribal objects! Binoche & Giquello will meet you at Hôtel Drouot on Friday 14 December at 3.30 pm for an exceptional sale of African and Oceanic art. To conclude the year in style, works from prestigious European and American collections will be on display.
The star lot of the sale is undoubtedly the splendid female bust (ancestor figure of Byeri), originating from the group Ntumu (Fang of Gabon). Undated, this statuette has an invoice attesting to its great age (early 19th century). Imbued with a feminine grace, it bears witness to the subtlety and spirituality of Fang art. The head is typical of the sculptural Ntumu way, displaying a hollow face with a “Fang” pout. Perched on a trunk, such an object watched over the bones of the ancestors and served as a mediator between the dead and the living. This treasure worthy of the collections of the greatest museums is estimated at 1 to 1.5 million euros. “This object is unique”, says Patrick Caput, the sales specialist. “There are perhaps 1,000 Fang statues in the [.../...]See more
New York, 15 October 2018
On Tuesday 13 November 2018, there will be a sale of African, oceanic and pre-Columbian art at Bonhams in New York. At least 103 quality objects will be on display to the public.
“This sale marks the return of African and Oceanic art to New York”, said Fred Backlar, tribal art specialist at Bonhams. “The sector had been somewhat down since 2014 in the market.”
Several remarkable lots are to be remembered. An exceptional Kota reliquary from Gabon will first be proposed (300,000 to 500,000 dollars). This one was taken in by Dr Paul Aubert at the beginning of the 20th century. It was presented in 2017 at the Los Angeles County Museum, during the exhibition "The Inner Eye: Vision and Transcendence in African Arts". A Dogon female figure from Mali will also be on sale ($100,000 to $150,000). This one belonged to the poet Tristan Tzara, the dadaist cantor. Finally, there is a rare Polynesian avimorph headrest ($60,000 to $90,000). This one probably originates from the Tikopia or Anuta Islands.
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Paris, 11 October 2018
On Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 4pm, an exceptional tribal art sale will take place at Christie's in Paris. This one will bring together objects from Africa, Oceania and America. The session will open with 30 masterpieces from the Adolphe Stoclet collection (1871-1949). This Belgian banker and industrialist is famous for having entrusted the architect Josef Hoffmann with the construction of the Palais Stoclet (Brussels).
This private residence is emblematic of the avant-garde role played by the Viennese Workshop (Wiener Werkstätte) at the beginning of the 20th century. It was decorated by several renowned artists such as Gustav Klimt or Fernand Khnopff. Stoclet made his house a “complete work of art” by exhibiting objects of all styles and periods. He gave tribal art an essential place, arranging the thirty works for sale in his “African Salon”. Stoclet also owned objects from America, Asia, Greece or Italy… He was an important customer of art dealer Joseph Brummer (1883-1947).
Among the objects in the collection are several Congolese [.../...]See more