The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Brussels, 21 January 2019
For lovers of tribal art, modern art and design, the famous Native Auction House is holding an exceptional auction on 26 January. In its Brussels premises, which experts consider one of the European temples of the African and Oceania art market, Native will present, on that day, among the main prizes, many treasures from the personal collection of German historian Helmut Zake.
Helmut Zake, former Director of Foreign Student Services and International Relations at the University of Heidelberg, acquired his first African works in the 1960s. Both charismatic and friends of famous merchants – such as Walter Kaiser – he founded the Heidelberg Gesprächskreis von Sammlern und Ethnologen, a discussion society more commonly known as the Zake Circle, which brought together ethnography lovers and African art collectors from all over Germany but also from Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands. “Through this circle”, says Nicolas Paszukiewicz, co-leader of Native, “Helmut Zake focused on defining the aesthetic canons that appealed to his [.../...]See more
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
Paris, 29 November 2018
Saturday 12 December, Sotheby's is organising two exceptional sales of African and Oceanic art to conclude the tribal year in style. From 3pm onwards, many lots from the anonymous collection of “Monsieur Z” will be dispersed. The session will be divided into three essential parts, illustrating the life and career of this discreet collector.
Since the end of the Second World War, Z has been involved in the avant-garde artistic circles that have emerged in the Brussels region. He works with the members of the CoBrA group: Pierre Alechinsky, Christian Dotremont, Karel Appel or Asger Jorn. He acquires remarkable works directly from these artists over the years. Through its choices and affinities, the Z collection perfectly illustrates the spirit of the group, as Christian Dotremont reminds us: “art must have roots”. A thought common to Z, which at the same time enriches its collection of tribal artworks (Africa and Oceania). As Corneille, a member of the CoBrA group, points out, “African art [...] is a primary art [...] which has not yet [.../...]See more
Vienna, 28 November 2018
On Tuesday 4 December there will be a remarkable tribal art session at Dorotheum in Vienna. To mark the end of the year, the auctions will be held in line with the theme of the four elements (Earth, Fire, Ether, Water). No less than 130 objects from several private collections will be scattered under the gaze of amateurs from all over the world. 85 of them are from the Franco Monti collection, one of the leading figures in the history of tribal art in the 20th century.
Born in Milan in 1931, Franco Monti became involved in sculpture in the 1950s. He developed a formal vocabulary of raw and bold lines, using clay and stone as the medium. Collectivity quickly caught up with him, and he soon attended the scholarly circles of the French school of anthropology. It is in this context that he made his first trips to sub-Saharan Africa. He acquires treasures from the contact with local cultures. Back in Europe, he organised exhibitions of African art, particularly in Italy. He works with the famous creators Giacometti, Marini, Fontana, Chirico, but also [.../...]See more
Paris, 28 November 2018
Notice to lovers of tribal objects! Binoche & Giquello will meet you at Hôtel Drouot on Friday 14 December at 3.30 pm for an exceptional sale of African and Oceanic art. To conclude the year in style, works from prestigious European and American collections will be on display.
The star lot of the sale is undoubtedly the splendid female bust (ancestor figure of Byeri), originating from the group Ntumu (Fang of Gabon). Undated, this statuette has an invoice attesting to its great age (early 19th century). Imbued with a feminine grace, it bears witness to the subtlety and spirituality of Fang art. The head is typical of the sculptural Ntumu way, displaying a hollow face with a “Fang” pout. Perched on a trunk, such an object watched over the bones of the ancestors and served as a mediator between the dead and the living. This treasure worthy of the collections of the greatest museums is estimated at 1 to 1.5 million euros. “This object is unique”, says Patrick Caput, the sales specialist. “There are perhaps 1,000 Fang statues in the [.../...]See more
New York, 15 October 2018
On Tuesday 13 November 2018, there will be a sale of African, oceanic and pre-Columbian art at Bonhams in New York. At least 103 quality objects will be on display to the public.
“This sale marks the return of African and Oceanic art to New York”, said Fred Backlar, tribal art specialist at Bonhams. “The sector had been somewhat down since 2014 in the market.”
Several remarkable lots are to be remembered. An exceptional Kota reliquary from Gabon will first be proposed (300,000 to 500,000 dollars). This one was taken in by Dr Paul Aubert at the beginning of the 20th century. It was presented in 2017 at the Los Angeles County Museum, during the exhibition "The Inner Eye: Vision and Transcendence in African Arts". A Dogon female figure from Mali will also be on sale ($100,000 to $150,000). This one belonged to the poet Tristan Tzara, the dadaist cantor. Finally, there is a rare Polynesian avimorph headrest ($60,000 to $90,000). This one probably originates from the Tikopia or Anuta Islands.
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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
Amsterdam, 13 October 2018
Tribal art is growing in the Netherlands! From 25 to 28 October 2018, 20 renowned merchants will gather in Amsterdam for the 16th edition of the Tribal Art Fair. More than 2,000 objects are presented to the public in the grounds of De Duif Church. Fans will be able to discover an exceptional choice of masks, sculptures, jewellery and furniture from Oceania, Africa, America or Asia.
Among the participants, the Astamangala gallery is the only one to offer Tibetan and Indian objects in Holland. Brant Mackley presents a selection of American native art. For Asia, we will go to Michael Woerner's side, not to mention the Lemaire gallery stand. The merchant family has been organizing the fair since its inception in 2003. Many events are planned during the four days of festivities. Guided tours will introduce the public to tribal rituals through African and Oceanic art. The presentation will be based on exhibits from the Zulu, Ndebele, Asmat and other peoples.
Several readings are also scheduled. Bas van Lier will return in [.../...]See more
Paris, 20 September 2018
In 1768, the Royal Society commissioned navigator James Cook, captain of the famous three-masted Endeavour, to explore the Pacific Ocean in search of terra incognita.
During his voyage, he discovered numerous island civilisations covering nearly one-third of the planet’s surface – from Tahiti in Polynesia to the Melanesian and Micronesian archipelagos. He also met indigenous peoples, in sometimes tense atmospheres due to spears thrown in response to muskets.
But at the same time, 250 years later, the Royal Academy has decided to honour this initial contact with other cultures by organising and producing a large-scale exhibition on the Oceanic arts. The show is on the same lines as other big monographic events at this British institution. Bear in mind that since the 1990s, the Royal Academy has staged exhibitions that delve into the cultural productions of great civilisations – “The Art of a Continent” (1995), “Aztecs” (2002), “Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years” (2005), “China: The Three Emperors, 1662-1795” (2005), [.../...]See more
Paris, 17 September 2018
Handovers to the next generation, a rise in the number of objects on sale, the creation of events on the market, a change in the way players behave... 2017 was a good year for arts hailing from outside Europe, but it looks like it might have been a transition period.
For around twenty years now, both auction figures and observations made by dealers and experts have attested to a healthy growing tribal-art market, which tends to be stable in its practices. In auction rooms, 2017 confirmed these sound results with a return to growth after two fairly flat years. Achieving a turnover of a little over €80 million, this is the second-best year in the history of the market (which includes classical African, Oceanian, pre-Colombian and North American arts) following an exuberant2014. This year, Sotheby’s sold the Frum and Myron Kunin collections, which together accounted for sales totalling €45.5 million. A hefty enough figure to tip the scales... “The market is doing very well,” enthuses Laurent Dodier, a French dealer and valuer from [.../...]See more