The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Geneva, 23 September 2017
The MEG is dedicating an exhibition to the diversity and wealth of Australia’s arts. “L’Effet boomerang. Les arts aborigènes d’Australie”, thus offers insight into the colonisation of this country, from a political and aesthetic perspective.
It was in 1770 that British explorer James Cook, acting as a representative of King George III, became the first Westerner to set foot on the Terra incognita, today known as Australia. Even if the land was already populated, the explorer still dubbed this territory as Terra nullius – “no man’s land”, an expression that says a great deal about the way indigenous people were long considered as a primitive society.
However, the “material culture” developed by Australia’s 270 or so ethnicities over the 60,000 years in which they had inhabited the territory would whet the interest of Western travellers. Many European goods were exchanged for local fetishes, sometimes painlessly, for the Aborigines had the means to reproduce these artefacts easily.
It was during this period that [.../...]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, 15 September 2017
They’re the ones who murmur into the ears of collectors. Gallerists play a crucial role in the tribal-art economy. For this special issue, a number of them, each with their own specialities, have agreed to share their feelings on the sector. Confidences.
At auctions, the eclectic nature of the tribal-art market indicates sure growth in the long term, both in terms of the number of lots placed on sale and their proceeds, even if the last three years have seen heavy fluctuations, if not a slight decline. However, by overshadowing the reality of the world of dealers, auction results are only a partial indicator of the health of a sector characterised by deep restructuring. Between a generational shift among collectors, sourcing difficulties, and a complex balance between auction houses and dealers, what does the future hold?
Collectors: a new generation takes the reins? In the eyes of Alain Lecomte from the gallery Abla & Alain Lecomte, specialised in ancient African arts, there’s no doubt about it: the sector is in for a shakeup: “The [.../...]See more
Paris, 13 September 2017
What are the evolutions and limitations of the tribal-art market? How is it nurtured by the contributions of research and ethnology? Alex Arthur offers us a few indications…
Alexander Arthur is a well-informed collector and a fine connoisseur of tribal arts. For over twenty years, he has been the publishing director of Tribal Art Magazine. In 2009, he also became involved, with Pierre Moos, in the management of Parcours des Mondes.
-You are one of the key protagonists of Parcours des Mondes. How have you seen the fair evolve?
A.A.: I actually participated in the very first Parcours so I remember well how it consisted of only a handful of galleries. But the concept was a good one and it grew rapidly into the world’s premier event. The event grew in quality as has the market overall and Parcours des Mondes has become the annual focal point for many galleries today, a situation that is reflected in the quality of many artworks on show and the number of thematic exhibitions.
-Tell us about vetting at the fair.
A.A.: Like [.../...]See more
Paris, 12 September 2017
As every year since 2001, the fair takes place in Saint-Germain-des-Prés for a week devoted to tribal art. Until 17 September, this gathering of 67 merchants offers a guaranteed change of scenery in the heart of Paris.
Parcours des Mondes, the fair steered by Pierre Moos – also managing director of Tribal Art magazine – has become the most important event in its field, leaping ahead of its most reputed European rivals. Incontestable success that confers on Parcours des Mondes its unique renown. No small feat, seeing how the schedule of events around classic African, Pacific, pre-Columbian and Asian arts, has taken off. Between the BRAFA and the BRUNEAF in Brussels, the TEFAF in Maastricht, the Tribal Art Fair in Amsterdam and London, and even Frieze New York which, this year, backed the decision to welcome tribal-art dealers in its alleys — Donald Ellis (New York, Vancouver), L & R Entwistle and Co (London) and Galerie Meyer (Paris) —, one thing is sure: we can no longer keep count of the number of international rendezvous organised in [.../...]See more
Paris, 12 September 2017
-You have directed Parcours des Mondes since 2007. How do you view the evolution of the fair and of the tribal-art market?
P.M.: Parcours des Mondes was created in response to a demand from tribal-art dealers. As its name indicates, this fair is an international event, open to all forms of extra-European artistic cultures. For around ten years now, we’ve been working on our communication strategy for the event: we devote 80 % of Parcours des Mondes’ proceeds on expenses relating to press relations, advertising and marketing. This publicity, coupled with that associated to the auction sale of key pieces, helps to raise awareness on tribal art all over the world, and this is positive. Finally, the recent opening up of the fair to the Asian arts proves, if proof were still necessary, the major role of Paris on the global art market. All these elements explain why Parcours is the world’s most important fair in tribal art today… To give you an idea, some dealers who take part in the event produce, in just a few days, three quarters of [.../...]See more
Paris, 4 September 2017
Stratospheric-level auctions, overheated prices… The market for archaeological and tribal pieces is booming! We retrace the phenomenon of star status for these highly coveted objects. An issue that we examine by seeing what dealers, collectors and members of the scientific community have to say…
Ever since the start of the 2000s, the tribal-art market has literally exploded, with its turnover jumping up from €13.7 million in 2001 to €92.1 in 2014. Despite this strong growth, tribal art remains a marginal market, which represents only 0.68 % of the global turnover of art auction sales, in other words, 40 times less than the proportion occupied by modern art, according to a report published by Artkhade and Art Analytics in December 2015.
Largely in front, Africa and Oceania leave other geographical zones behind in the shadows. Between 2000 and 2014, these two continents represented 64.8 % of lots offered at auctions and 81 % of the sector’s total sales proceeds. Above all, the market’s growth has been accompanied by a [.../...]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
Paris, 3 September 2017
A new formula for a historic fair. This year, La Biennale Paris is engaging in a rebirth that remains highly respectful of tradition. See it for yourself at the Grand Palais, until 17 September. The planet’s most elegant fair, riding on its heritage, opens up to new horizons.
“Confidence, confidence, confidence!” This could be – if one were needed – the motto of this 29th edition of the Biennale, formerly known as the Biennale des Antiquaires, currently on at the Grand Palais until 17 September… And it’s not Christopher “Kip” Forbes, chairman of this new opus, who will say the contrary. “La Biennale Paris is the most important fair in its field in France, and one of the most important in the world,” claims the American billionaire who, this year, succeds Henri Loyrette, former president of the Louvre. “I’ll try to keep up the level of excellence established by my eminent predecessors and I hope to contribute to making this edition of the Biennale the most brilliant one to ever exist.” The stakes have been set… Will [.../...]See more