The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
New York, 17 May 2013
A rare canoe prow from the Maquesas Islands soared past its pre-sale estimate of $8,000-12,000 to sell for $70,900 dollars at Bonhams May 15 African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art auction at the Madison Avenue salesroom. It was the highest price realised for any Polynesian work of art at auction during Tribal Arts Week in New York.
Decorated with a classic Marquesan tiki figure, the wooden prow – or 'au 'au – would have been attached to the bow of a canoe. Marquesan 'au 'au show carved tiki figures seated and pushed backwards, as if by acceleration, and were primarily intended to be seen in profile as canoes sped through the water.
"This particular Marquesas prow is covered in linear tattooing and has especially naturalistic proportions, including fully articulated legs, which is very rare," explained Bonhams African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art Consultant, Fredric Backlar. "I always felt strongly that it was an exceptional example, and I am pleased bidders agreed."
The auction attracted [.../...]See more
New York, 13 May 2013
An extremely rare Chokwe architectural female figure from Angola dating to the early 20th century will lead Bonhams African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art auction on May 15 at the Madison Avenue salesroom (est. $90,000-120,000). Field-collected by Jacques Kerchache, the female figure, covered in ritualistic scarring, and has been widely published and featured in notable museum exhibitions. The well-sculpted head utilises black surfaces on the overall background of red to emphasise several important elements: the striped headdress, long eyebrows, coffee-bean eyes, and widened mouth, all of which has been enhanced with a white pigmentation, a symbol of authority in the Chokwe culture. Standing nearly four feet high, the impressive specimen would have been a part of an aristocratic household. Another superb example of the female form is a Baule Female Figure from the Ivory Coast (est. $20,000-30,000). Most likely carved in the 19th century or earlier, this stylized piece has an exceptional and highly [.../...]See more
Paris, 5 May 2013
On 19 May 2013, Christie’s Paris will be organising a sale devoted to African and Oceanic art.
117 lots will be on offer, estimated between €3.7m and €5.9m, including numerous pieces issued from the Celeste and Armand Bartos Collection. Among the highlights of the sale, let us mention an iconic Baga serpent from the Republic of Guinea, estimated between €800,000 and €1.2m; a Fang Head from Gabon, issued from the Charles Ratton Collection, estimated between €300,000 and €500,000.
Bidders will also be able to attend the dispersion of the Jolika Collection, built throughout the course of four decades by Marcia and John Friede and comprised of over 300 works: it is deemed one of the most important New Guinean art collections.
A selection of fourteen items of African art will be offered by the Art Institute of Chicago, with for instance a Baga D’mba headdress, estimated between €400,000 and €800,000.
A major Canadian collection will put on offer Royal Baham from Cameroon, a Commemorative [.../...]See more
Paris, 26 March 2013
On 19 June 2013, Christie’s will be organising the dispersion of 15 masterpieces from New Guinea issued from the Jolika Collection of the Fine Arts Museums in San Francisco. The sale’s proceeds will be a benefit to the museums’ acquisition fund.
The masterpiece of the sale is a ceremonial ridgepole figure sculpted by the Biwa people (Mundugamor) near the Yuat River, in the region of Lower Sepik. Estimated between €750,000 and €1m, it is comparable – both in terms of rarity and quality – to two other specimens known, one of which is displayed at the Cambridge Museum of Art and Archaeology and the other being part of the Barbier-Muller Collection.
“It is an amazing opportunity for New Guinean works of such quality to come to market. For some of the rarest examples, we will not see works like this available again for another generation, if ever” stated Susan Kloman, the international director of the department.
San Francisco, 13 February 2013
The second-ever annual Art of the South Seas auction, February 10 at Bonhams in San Francisco, achieved a successful total of $409,550. The auction of Polynesian, Micronesian, Melanesian, Indonesian and Australian works of art was highlighted by an important and rare Rarotonga pole club ('akatara) of the Cook Islands, carved from the heart (taiki) of the toa (ironwood) tree, which sold to an important American museum for $60,500. Clubs of this type were typically created for chiefs or members of high status within society. This more than 7-foot-tall club example was acquired at a London auction in 1990, and was formerly in the highly-acclaimed James Hooper Collection.
Highly notable in the sale was a Marquesas Islands Club, 'u'u, which brought $43,750, surpassing its estimate of $30,000-40,000. Historically, 'u'u clubs were a Marquesan warrior's most prized possession, serving as both a weapon in close contact and a mark of high status within society. This ironwood example was finely carved, featuring raised decorations [.../...]See more
Paris, 14 December 2012
The sale of African and Oceanic art held on 12 December at Sotheby’s made a total turnover of €7,268,875 BPI, exceeding its previous estimation (between €4m and €5m).
Among the works put on sale, we might note an ensemble of high historical value pieces come from prestigious European collections: the Lemaire Collection (Netherlands), Krieg (Germany), Lejeune (Belgique) and Mendès-France (France). Arts of Central Africa have been particularly highlighted, but remarkable pieces of Oceanian art were purchased as well.
Marguerite de Sabran, head of the African and Oceanic art department for Sotheby’s France, declared “an iconic Biwat flute cap was sold tonight for almost €1.5m, reflecting the sale as a whole: a most refined selection of items, warmly welcomed by the public during the exhibition and by international collectors during the auction”.
The ancestral Biwat figure, from the Lemaire Collection – and previously from the Speyer Collection – is considered one of the most mysterious ritual [.../...]See more
Paris, 13 December 2012
The African art auction held at Christie’s Paris on 11 December made a striking turnover of €6m ($7,8m) and it turned out to be this year’s best sale of African art organised by the Parisian auction house. Amongst the pieces offered we might mention a Nkundu reliquary sold for €2.7m making the world’s best result for an African art piece in 2012. A Fang head, from the Pierre Berès collection, formerly owned by Charles Ratton and later by Félix Fénéon, fetched €385,000.
Two pieces belonging to Henri-Georges and Inès Clouzot were offered on sale as well. On the request of Inès Clouzot all the proceeds were handed over to the Secours catholique. These objects fetched respectively €16,250 for the Fang style head (lot 44) and €67,000 for a Dogon Bambou-Toro from Mali (lot 45). A Tabwa statue from Democratic Republic of Congo was purchased for €481,000, establishing another world record.
“The department is very pleased with the auction’s result, notably with the presence of numerous [.../...]See more
New York, 30 November 2012
Bonhams is thrilled with the results of its November 20 African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art sale in New York, which has been confirmed as Bonhams most successful sale of its kind to date. The auction was held in Bonhams compelling new gallery space at 580 Madison Avenue. The room was packed with attendees, and global buyers flooded the phone lines while others vied online. The wide variety of interested participants, and impressive sell-thru rate of the property, attest to the growing interest in this unique market.
Although Bonhams is already established as one of the leaders in the New York art market, new clients accounted for over twenty-five percent of the active bidders, doubtlessly drawn by the unparalleled pieces on offer. "Quality works of art, fresh to the market and with excellent provenance, did very well at all price levels" explained Bonhams Director of African, Oceanic & Pre-Colombian Art Frederic Backlar. Notable successes were found across regional categories as well. The top three lots all hailed from the [.../...]See more
Paris, 16 November 2012
On 11 December 2012, Christie’s Paris will put on sale African and Oceanian masterpieces estimated between €4,000,000 and €6,000,000.
Among the objects offered on sale we can recall a Nkundu reliquary estimated bewteen €2,000,000 and €3,000,000, of Central-African origin, belonging to the collection of Jean Willy Mestach – a Brussels painter, known as “L’Œil du Sablon”. He kept this rare and striking piece in his collection for over fifty years. In the press release, Christie’s highlights the uniqueness of this object, informing that the only known exemplaries are owned by the Musée royal de l’Afrique Centrale in Tervuren (Belgium) and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (France).
The Parisian auction house adds a series of miniatures from New Guinea coming from the Jolika Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts will be offered as well. Micromégas, a wink to Voltaire’s tale – is an assembly of small jewellery pieces and amulets. These works reveal the mastery of New Guinean artists. In [.../...]See more
Sydney, 15 October 2012
Strong Results were achieved for artefacts at Sotheby's Australia's major Aboriginal & Oceanic Art sale held on Monday, 15 October 2012 in Sydney. Important Aboriginal & Oceanic Art comprised 110 lots and sold for $668,400 including buyer's premium or 50% by value and 48% by volume. A Fine Parrying Shield from South East Australia sold well above the high estimate of $12,000 selling for $33,600 IBP (estimate $8,000-12,000, lot 2).
According to Sotheby’s press release, this auction was a unique opportunity for Australian and foreign collectors to acquire rare and historically valuable objects. Indeed, the series of photographs titled “Picturesque New Guinea”, by J.W. Lindt, broke the records of the artist, for it was purchased for $93,600, while it had been previously estimated between $60,000 and $80,000. This collection is entirely unique of a kind, for it offers an overview of the landscapes, tribes and colonial development of former Australia, under the British protectorate.
An early work by Aboriginal artist Yala Yala [.../...]See more