The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Geneva, 18 January 2019
The Musée Barbier-Mueller in Geneva is presenting until 26 May 2019 a special exhibition focused on its collection of asen, portable metal altars from the former kingdom of Dahomey, in what is now the Republic of Benin.
Asen are characterized by a circular tray adorned with iron pendants on its perimeter and decorated with figurative scenes of humans, animals and plants alluding to the honoured dead and to southern Benin’s history. The tray rests on a shaft planted in the ground of the asenxo (asen house) where the family’s deceased are commemorated and evoked in annual ceremonies. In front of the asen, the living meet the dead, speak to them and question them, and offer them propitiatory sacrifices.
In local tradition, asen were also closely identified with healing rites, protection and divination, as well as the transfer of knowledge from the spirit world to the earthly world in Vodun temples and other settings. Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, as the Dahomey court grew in power, this function shifted towards a more [.../...]See more
Geneva, 15 May 2018
As the number-four exhibition of the MEG since the Swiss museum’s reopening, “Africa – Ecstatic Religions” draws up a portrait of the diversity and vivacity of African religious forms, their differences and reciprocal influences, but also their links: ecstasy as a means to experience one’s faith.
“Belief, ritual and spiritual experience: these are the cornerstones of religion, and the greatest of them is the last.” Boris Wastiau chose to quote Ioan Myrddin Lewis’ Ecstatic Religion (1971) to define the focuses of his exhibition, “Africa – Ecstatic Religions”. Perhaps he could also have borrowed the words of Mircea Eliade, who wrote an essay in 1964 (“La quête des origines de la religion”, published in La Nostalgie des Origines, also in 1971): “We know that we can only seize hold of the sacred through manifestations that are always historically conditioned. But the study of these manifestations doesn’t tell us what the sacred is, nor what a religious experience truly means.” Divided into four sections that cover [.../...]See more
Besanceuil, 14 March 2017
Jean-François Schmitt is an art-lover and collector. He is a Friend of the musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac and a member of the Cercle Lévi-Strauss.
Anthony Meyer is a dealer, author, and specialist in Pacific and Eskimo ancient arts and traditional cultures. He manages the Meyer Gallery of Oceanic Arts in Paris and is one of the founders of the Bourgogne Tribal Show, along with Laurent Dodier, Bruno Frey, Jacques Lebrat and Bruno Mory.
For its second event, the Bourgogne Tribal Show will take place from 25th to 28th May, 2017. You both took part in the fair’s first event, one as a dealer, one as a collector. Could you share your experiences with us?
Jean-François Schmitt: My abiding memory of the first event is what a pleasure it was to see tribal art in less conventional settings. The atmosphere was very different from the other fairs, far more casual and convivial.
Its location in the Burgundy region was ideal too, [.../...]See more
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
Oostende, 15 December 2015
Mu.ZEE, in Oostende, has collaborated with the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, both in Belgium, to present “European Ghosts”, until 3 January 2016.
“European Ghosts” examines the Western perception of African art in the twentieth century by exploring documents, texts and, particularly, the first photographs and publications of objects and masks from Africa. More than 45 works have been selected from the collection of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren. The museums based their decisions on early reproductions, descriptions and observations made by photographers, writers and ethnographers, as well as upon previous exhibitions about African art.
The exhibition also examines various presentation models and methods of design; from the ‘universal exhibition’ in Brussels in 1897 to the present day. Patrick Wokmeni has photographed masks and objects from the Tervuren collection for European Ghosts. Curator Phillip Van den Bossche, and visual artist Koenraad Dedobbeleer, say [.../...]See more
Paris, 25 January 2015
The Musée du Quai Branly in Paris will unveil over 200 years of West African artistic creation in its upcoming exhibition “Côte d’Ivore Master Sculptors”, which is to take place from 14 April to 26 July 2015.
Close to 200 historic and contemporary works assembled by curators Eberhard Fischer and Lorenz Homberger will be exhibited in the Galerie Jardin, a space dedicated to temporary displays which was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. Encompassing a wide range of works from the retrospective to the forward-looking, the exhibition invites viewers to discover the aesthetic attraction and originality of 19th and early 20th century artists and workshops, whilst introducing them to a new generation of African artists.
The exhibitions eschews the notion of African art as a purely artisanal activity, allowing visitors to familiarise themselves with the geographical and cultural context of works, whilst highlighting the stylistic variety of the different workshops. Featured [.../...]See more
Brussels, 13 May 2014
Joaquin Pecci presents the exhibition “Presence of the Sacred: Evoking the Ubangian”, running from 4 to 8 June 2014, in Brussels.
About thirty Northern Congo sculptures will be on display at the exhibition, taking place at the 14th edition of BRUNEAF.
Joaquin Pecci Gallery opened in 2007 and specialises in African art. The owner of the gallery first travelled across Asia, where he found interest in the shamanic cultures of the Himalayas. Further on, he discovered a passion for African art in 1986 and became specifically interested in the Congo, Mali and northern Nigeria.
Before opening his own gallery, Joaquin Pecci worked for over 10 years as head of African Art at the Grusenmeyer gallery.
Zurich, 18 March 2014,
The exhibition “African Masters – Art from the Ivory Coast” at Zurich’s Museum Rietberg is to run until 1 June 2014.
In an attempt to shed light on the diverse artistic offering of 200 years of African art, the exhibition looks at the works of around 200 or so West African artists whose significant contribution to African art has had a global influence. Taking its focus from the Ivory Coast and its neighbouring countries, the exhibition presents works by masters of the Guro, Baule, Dan, Senufo, Lobi and Lagoon peoples, whose artistic output most frequently manifested itself in masks and sculptures, dating back to the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.
The exhibition aims to quash certain stereotypes which, to this day, tarnish the continent’s artistic offering, notably the perceived absence of aesthetic principals, originality and creativity. Benefiting from an in-depth study of African art, “African Masters – Art from the Ivory Coast” rejects the idea that the artists – [.../...]See more
Paris, 11 March 2014,
Two exhibitions are currently on display at the Musée du Quai Branly, from 4 March 2014 until 18 May 2014 in Paris. They are entitled: ” ‘Black Atlantic’ by Nancy Cunard, Negro Anthology (1931-1934)” and “Sacred Wood, Initiation in the Guinean Forests”.
Both exhibitions evoke the African continent, approached from very different perspectives. “Black Atlantic” presents the seminal work by Nancy Cunard, a French intellectual figure who came to prominence in the 20th-century, and whose contribution was of particular importance in the 1920s. The title of the exhibition alludes to the title of her work Negro Anthology (1934). The exhibition reveals a range of different facets to this complex personality — anti-conformist, collector, editor, militant, journalist etc. — drawing from Negro Anthology in its reflection of her desire to counteract racism. The curator of the exhibition is Sarah Frioux-Salgas.
The second exhibition, “Sacred Wood” presents around 60 [.../...]See more
Los Angeles, 20 June 2013
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is to inaugurate its new, permanent gallery, dedicated to the arts of Africa with the exhibition ‘Shaping Power: Luba Masterworks from The Royal Museum for Central Africa’, on display from 7 July 2013 to 5 January 2014.
The exhibition is to explore artistic traditions and emblems of power from the Luba Kingdom, one of the most influential in Central Africa. Rare sculptures from the Luba people of the Democratic Republic of Congo will be on display, including figurative thrones, sceptres, royal cups, intricately carved headrests and ancestral figures. It is rare that such works should be exhibited in the United States, and it is the first time the collection will be shown in Los Angeles
The exhibition is co-curated by LACMA and the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium. A press viewing for the exhibition is currently scheduled for 10 July 2013, between 10am and noon.