The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Since the market crash in 2008, the term “bubble”, applied in an economic context, has become part of everyday vocabulary. The analogy of a market growing so big, like a bubble, filled with air only waiting to burst, is almost irresistibly charming. Economic bubbles happen all the time, all over the world.
The most discussed possible bubble in recent years has been the art market. Critics, ranging from economists, journalists to opinionated folk, claim that the art market is a bubble and that when it bursts, it will be ugly. Maybe this talk started exactly the same day the biggest bubble in almost a century started bursting: 15 September 2008. On this day, one of the biggest Wall Street firms, Lehmann Brothers, went bankrupt, signalling the real depth of the crisis the world was about to face. On the other side of the Atlantic, Sotheby’s held a one-man auction, with works from Damien Hirst only commissioned directly from the artist, raising £111 million. This is an almost unbelievable coincidence: one of the most controversial artists [.../...]See more
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.
New York, 6 February 2016
The collection of Drs. Daniel and Marian Malcolm will be offered in a two-part sale series organised by Sotheby’s: first in New York, on 7 May 2016, then in Paris, on 22 June 2016. The entire collection comprises 24 works worth an estimated $10 million.
Gathered over almost fifty years since 1966, some works in the collection have been loaned to major museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum for African Art (formerly the Center for African Art), the National Museum for African Art, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. The Malcolms also supported the acquisition funds of major institutions.
Jean Fritts, Sotheby’s worldwide head for African and Oceanic art, makes the following statement about the collection: “The collection of Daniel and Marian Malcolm represents a lifetime of true connoisseurship in the finest tradition of our field. They assembled a wide collection of the highest quality as [.../...]See more
Paris, 30 November 2015
Surveying the tribal art market from 2000 to 2015, a recently released Artkhade and Art Analytics report revealed exceptionally positive results for the category, documenting a growing trend towards multi-million-dollar auction sales and the increasing domination of the market by high-end works.
The study amassed a wide range of data to document tribal art’s growth as a sale category—though it still lags far behind the dominant Modern, Post-War, and Contemporary art segments of the market. Here, we have selected seven key figures from the report’s pages to explore what they tell us about the future of this “niche” market.
The tribal art market witnessed record sales in 2014, achieving €92.1 million from works sold at auction. Demonstrating the upward trajectory of the market, this result well surpassed the €52.8 million sold just one year previous, in 2013, never mind the €13.7 million of tribal art sold in 2001.
The year 2006 stands out [.../...]See more
Paris, 30 June 2015
The African and Oceanic art sale at Sotheby’s France that took place on 24 June 2015 amassed a sum of €11.1 million, exceeding its initial estimate of between €6.5 and €9.5 million. This event was also the auction house’s second best sale of arts in this field.
Four lots were sold for above €500,000, 14 for above €100,000, and two world records were broken. One of the masterpieces from the former Vérité collection, the Masque-double, Baulé, was sold for €5,411,000 although it was estimated to sell for between €2 million and €3 million. This made it the highest-selling lot of the auction and also broke the world record for a Baulé work such as the second highest price for a African mask. The second place was taken by a commemorative Akan head from Ghana, which was sold for €855,000, although its estimate was fixed between €200,000 and €300,000, establishing a new world record for a Akan work. The commemorative Fon Tchatchuang statue, Royaume de Batoufam, [.../...]See more
Paris, 10 June 2015
On 22 June 2015, the auction house Artcurial in Paris, France, is to organise a sale of Tribal art, including a piece from the former collection of French poet Paul Éluard.
Almost 70 rigorously selected works are to be offered for this sale. One of the objects offered is a remarkable baoulé mask, from the Ivory Coast, an asymmetrical Kpan headset, found in situ in around 1910. The fine features of the face are made spectacular by two horns on the forehead. This piece was conserved in a private French collection, and is estimated to sell for between €40,000 and €60,000. The highlighted lot of the sale is a Zandé-Nzakara harp from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, dating from before 1960, taken from the former collection of Éluard (estimated between €30,000 and €50,000). This previously unseen piece gives a glimpse into the richness of the collection of the French poet, and attests to his fascination for tribal art. The bevelled sound box is carefully covered in antelope skin, and boasts a delicate handle. The [.../...]See more
Paris, 27 May 2015
Christie’s has announced the appointment of Stanislas Gokelaere as European consultant within their African & Oceanic Art Department.
Based in Paris, Stanislas Gokelaere is to work with Susan Kloman, international director of the department and Pierre Amrouche, international consultant. His arrival should strengthen the department’s activity in Europe, boosting Parisian sales in particular. The growing demand for African and Oceanic art, both from collectors as well as enthusiasts of other art forms such as Impressionist, Modern, and contemporary art, provides a strategic growth opportunity for Christie’s. The auction house intends to meet this demand by organising two annual sales in Paris in June and December 2015.
Raised in a family of modern art dealers, Stanislas Gokelaere has been personally collecting African and Oceanic art for over 20 years. Christie’s new employee has also worked in the private equity field and co-founded and directed the Art Collection Fund, an art [.../...]See more
Luxembourg, 17 May 2015
Stanislas Gokelaere is a Luxembourg-based collector who started out in the world of capital-investment, and the co-founder of Art Collection Fund, an investment fund whose objective is to assemble a collection of high quality modern and contemporary art, in addition to African and Oceanic arts. The son of art dealers, and with a passion for art and 20th-century design, over the last 15 years Gokelaere has built a strong reputation in the art world. AMA had the opportunity to meet with him.
S. G.: These days, I would say the divide is a slightly different one. Galleries are also aiming at the higher end of the market in addition to the middle market. In the auction market we are, however, seeing many excellent collections up for sale, and plenty of very important sales. The auction [.../...]See more
Paris, 12 December 2014
On 10 December 2014 Sotheby’s Paris realised €12 million in sales of Oceanic and African art including the sale of the Alexis Bonew collection which brought in €6.2 million of the day’s turnover.
This, the last sale of the year for the African and Oceanic arts department, realised almost half of the department’s total sales for the year — €26 million, a record for the auction house. The large majority of the Alexis Bonew collection was acquired, including a muminia Lega mask, realising €3,569,500, the second highest price ever realised for an African mask, whilst the Nkonde statue almost doubled its high estimate of €800,000, bringing in a total of €1,553,500.
The second sale of the day featured various amateur works from Oceania and the African continent, with the record for the most expensive work from Easter Island being broken during the sale. The piece in question is a Rapa, an abstraction of the human form, which realised €1,889,500, far [.../...]See more
Paris, 3 December 2014
On 10 December 2014, Artcurial will be holding their second Tribal Art sale of the year, offering the contents of three major private collections.
The first collection, belonging to Liuba and Ernesto Wolf, comprises 127 African spoons; the second, belonging to M. and Mme Robert Hendrickx from Brussels, includes a historic group of 15 Dogon sculptures; and the third, from Paris, comprises 24 combs. The sale also includes a royal Luba pipe from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as an extremely rare Guro mask, by the Master of Bouaflé, from the Ivory Coast.
“Artcurial’s decision to make Tribal Art a permanent department demonstrates the confidence that we have in this speciality. The wonderful quality of the work presented in the sale, the documented and prestigious provenance and the coherence of the collections offered, will appeal to a demanding and highly competitive market”, said Artcurial.