The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
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
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, 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
London, 27 August 2016
Bryan Reeves has stood for a certain vision of tribal art and culture ever since he launched the Tribal Perspectives fair in 2007. Since then, the event has grown, changed its name and venue by moving into The Mall Galleries to become Tribal Art London. At the start of September, Art Media Agency with Artkhade went to London, winding through the fair’s alleys, to meet Bryan Reeves.
B. R.: I like introducing Tribal Art London as a cultural fair. Our exhibitors cover all fields of tribal art around the globe, and we have a well-developed conference programme, offering debates in fields as wide as culture or ethnography — the aim being to increase understanding of tribal art without contenting ourselves with merely being a strictly commercial fair. Today, the fair is heading to its ninth birthday. When we started, we were no more than a small exhibition with three dealers — “Tribal Perspectives”. We gradually developed the fair, then moved to a fantastic spot, [.../...]See more
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, 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, 26 June 2014
On 19 June, Christie’s Paris held two sales dedicated to African, Oceanic and North American artworks, as well as works from the collection of Rudolf and Leonore Blum. 119 out of the 175 proposed lots were sold, totalling €5,964,075.
Four new world records were set at the sales. As stated by Susan Kloman, International Director of the Department of African and Oceanic Art: “the collection of Rudolf and Leonore Blum attracted particular interest from collectors, realising a total of €3,616,600, 96% by lot and by value, doubling the estimate. The highest-selling lot was a Luba Shankadi headrest, which realised €661,500, against an estimate of €200,000-300,000, whilst a Dan mask from the Ivory Coast, sold for €721,500, broke the world record for an object of this ethnic origin.”
Paris, 17 April 2014,
In art, a quantitative approach is often given bad press. Those who pursue analyses based on value are often accused of relegating the importance of art works themselves – reducing them to mere financial assets. A number of dealers pretend to ignore the industry’s financial side, placing a stronger emphasis on the aesthetic or emotional aspect of their work. The reality of the market, however, means that financial considerations remain – and are increasingly – a vital component of the art world.
Art has often sought to avoid an association with finance and has, in part, succeeded. A work of art – even one considered to have little financial worth – is capable of attaining a very personal value which a treasury bond will never reach. Yet, in the context of an increasingly liquid market affected by ongoing inflation, information is key; thus, the importance of accurate data sources becomes increasingly important.
In the 1990s, a number of data specialists used the development of the [.../...]See more
Paris, 19 July 2013
Survival International, an organisation that works to protect tribal peoples, has returned a mask taken from Arizona’s Hopi people, after it was controversially sold at Parisian auction house Drouot in 2013.
Lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber who acquired the piece via Drouot with the intention of returning it to the Hopi people, considers the restitution of the work as a small success in a much larger fight: “It is my way of telling the Hopi that we only lost a battle and not the war. I am convinced that in the future, those who believe that not everything should be up for sale will prevail. In the meantime, the Hopi will not have lost everything since two of these sacred objects have been saved from being sold.”
For the Hopi people, the commercialisation of these sacred works, and their presentation in public, is hugely offensive. Survival International requested that the sale be suspended, though the demand was repeatedly denied by the Parisian crown court, and a sale of the works was [.../...]See more
San Francisco, 17 May 2013
Bonhams looks forward to presenting a 523-lot sale of Native American art, June 3 in San Francisco. The sale will feature historic basketry, fine textiles, jewellery, kachina dolls and pottery from various owners, including more than 200 lots of property from the Jim and Lauris Phillips Collection, San Marino, CA. Many examples from the Phillips' amazing basket collection of more than 400 baskets, mostly from California, will be portioned out in this and future sales.
Northwest Coast and Eskimo highlights in the sale will include a food storage box of bentwood construction (est. $35,000-45,000); two separate Northwest Coast Chilkat blankets (est. $30,000-40,000 and $12,000-18,000); and a Haida argillite panel pipe (est. $25,000-35,000). A selection of masks, such as a Yupik Eskimo mask in the form of a seal in an oval frame with a bird head protruding from the bottom (est. $30,000-50,000); an Eskimo mask, conceived as a split-faced entity within the body of a spotted seal (est. $20,000-30,000); and an Alaskan mask - [.../...]See more