The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Palos Verdes, 12 February 2020
He combines the passion of a collector with the rigour of an ethnologist. For over twenty years, American art dealer Michael Hamson has been celebrating the creativity of traditional arts from the South Pacific.
From New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, hundreds of museum-quality works have passed through his hands. And yet he himself admits that tribal-art dealing was not an obvious path for him to follow.
At the end of the 1980s, this former marine officer, who enjoyed searching for good surfing waves in his spare time, would take advantage of his long months on land to travel – first to West Africa, where he discovered tribal art, and then to Papua New Guinea. It was in the latter that he met a biologist who was carrying out research in isolated villages around Maprik, the centre of Abelam culture. The encounter was a revelation. “During my first trip, I discovered New Ireland and I travelled along the Sepik River. Of course I didn’t stumble upon antiquities straight away, but the objects that I did find, while not necessarily [.../...]See more
Brussels, 20 January 2020
No less than 356 objects or groups of works of art from Africa, the Pacific and the Americas will be offered for sale by the German auction house Lempertz on 29 January starting at 2 p.m. at its Brussels branch in Rue du Grand Cerf. Most of the pieces put up for sale come from prestigious collections of primitive art, and the great tutelary figures of the discipline, such as Philippe Guimiot, Charles Hug, Leo Stappers and Giovanni Battista Belzoni, will undoubtedly bring a guarantee of quality to this first session of the year at Lempertz.
Estimated between 15,000 and 20,000 euros, a Jaraï funerary statue (lot 356), collected by Guimiot in the early 1970s in Vietnam, is one of the leading figures of this sale, along with two totems brought back by the Belgian merchant from the islands of Babar and Leti (lots 354 and 355, estimated between 10,000 and 15,000 euros), located in the Indonesian archipelago of the Moluccas. “After returning from his stay in Africa, Philippe Guimiot made several trips to Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, [.../...]See more
Brussels, 19 January 2020
For its first auction of the year, the Brussels auction house Native is offering, on 25 January, starting at 7 p.m., a selection of 97 primitive art, modern art and 20th-century design objects or groups of objecs, all in all a heterogeneous selection.
Among the pieces of tribal art on sale is a spectacular 38-centimetre high wooden mask from Songye (DRC), estimated by experts between 150,000 and 250,000 euros. “This mask represents a beautiful synthesis of the greatest artistic expressions of Central Africa: the sensual beauty of the Luba and the fascinating strength of the Songye, two tribes linked by common ancestors,” explains Nicolas Paszukiewicz and Sébastien Hauwaert, Native’s two executives who opened their auction house in 2011 in Brussels’ Sablon after working for German auction house Lempertz. “The combination of the two styles is typical of the border area between the two tribes.” This mask (lot 37), probably collected by a Belgian settler in the 1920s, belonged to Liège collector Paul Gilman, then to Brussels [.../...]See more
Paris, 18 January 2020
Passion for primitive arts is eminently contagious. In the Schoffel family, we know something of it. Located since 1994 at 14 rue Guénégaud, in the sixth arrondissement of Paris, the eponymous gallery perpetuates a tradition of more than half a century, initiated by the father, Alain Schoffel, affected from a very young age by the virus of collecting, then by that of trade.
“I don't think he ever imagined himself doing any other activity. From the age of ten, he became interested in primitive arts, first through the arrows of American Indians! Barely a teenager, he ran from one museum to the next and was just 25 when, in 1969, he opened his gallery on rue de Seine. For him, it was a need. It's not easily explainable. And he obviously passed on this passion to my mother,” says his daughter, Judith Schoffel de Fabry. When the couple split up, Christine Valluet opened her own gallery on rue de Lille, and it was under this banner and alongside her mother that the young woman embarked on a career as a specialist antique dealer. “For me, it [.../...]See more
Paris, 5 November 2019
Pieces that should be displayed in museums. For its sale of African and Oceania arts on 14 November in Drouot, Binoche & Giquello is focusing on exceptional works, particularly with the dispersion of the Maurice Nicaud collection and the masks from Burkina Faso from Thomas G. B. Wheelock.
The Nicaud collection marks the end of his succession. This final session illustrates the epic story of this collector-dealer who, like Helene Kamer, was one of the first to bring back traditional objects from Guinea in the early 1950s, before the country fell entirely under the control of President Sékou Touré at the time of the country’s independence in 1958. “What allowed Maurice Nicaud – or Hélène Kamer – to bring back those very beautiful objects was also this very specific political situation,” explains Patrick Caput, the sales expert. Even before becoming president, Sékou Touré had already tried to destroy animist cultures. Around the same time, a number of Muslim preachers arrived in the villages and martyred the populations, burning the [.../...]See more
New York, 4 November 2019
It is simply the most beautiful collection of ethnic headrests in the world. On 11 November 11, Bonhams is about to put on sale in New York the famous Graham Beck collection. In 2005, the South African businessman and philanthropist acquired this unique set of African and Oceania headrests from Jonathan Lowen, a South African-born lawyer who lived in London.
Absolutely passionate about these artifacts, which are rather discreet in private collections, he had built up a unique collection over the years, notably with works from South Africa and Zimbabwe. “Jonathan Lowen started collecting headrests in the late 1960s when he arrived in London, but was homesick,” explains Fred Backlar, the sales expert who met the collector a few years ago. “The majority of his collection was sold to the Johannesburg Art Gallery in the 1980s. After that, Lowen resumed and refined his collecting.” Under the impetus of South African artist and curator Karel Nel, Graham Beck bought from him his entire collection with the intention of creating a museum [.../...]See more
Amsterdam, 28 September 2019
For the 17th time, the Tribal Art Fair is taking place in the wonderful De Duif church in the centre of Amsterdam. Twenty galleries will be exhibiting their most exceptional pieces. There will also be a programme featuring readings and films. For example, unique amateur film images captured in Papua in 1961 will be screened.
The Tribal Art Fair is one of the four most important ethnographic fairs in Europe. This is reflected in the international character of the fair. Participants come from various countries, such as the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Thailand and the USA, and visitors travel to Amsterdam from all over the world to visit the fair too. The fair is of interest to anyone who wants to find out more about tribal art. Guided tours are organised and you can find out information from the gallery owners. Of course, there’s also plenty for long-standing collectors to see.
Tribal art is about so much more than masks and sculptures. It also encompasses textiles, jewellery and utensils. It goes without saying that this diversity [.../...]See more
Brussels, 30 September 2019
Opened in 2011, at 5 rue Ruysbroeck, in the Sablon district of Brussels, by two former collaborators of the German company Lempertz, on 5 October at 6 pm the Native gallery and auction house organises its fourth auction session of the year (the second one to have been catalogued) dedicated to the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
Brought together from several private collections, 102 lots will be offered, including a Songye bust in horn, pins in brass, metal and various other materials, which, since the 1970s, has passed through the Pierre Dartevelle and Philippe Guimiot galleries, before its acquisition by a Belgian amateur, whose heirs wished to remain anonymous. This piece, estimated between 20,000 and 30,000 euros, could be part of a group of four sculptures with the same stylistic characteristics of the Second Tradition, according to François Neyt, author of the book Songye : Redoutable statuaire Songye d’Afrique centrale and specialist of the culture of Bantu people living in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of [.../...]See more
No monograph had so far treated the sculpture Uli from New Ireland (Papua New Guinea) with an exhaustive and analytical approach. This is soon to be done, with a book to be published in December under the direction of Jean-Philippe Beaulieu.
Science in discussion… Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, before becoming an ethnologist or art historian, was an astrophysicist. A specialist in exoplanets, he is currently CNRS research director at the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris. After many trips to New Ireland since 2002, he has explored Europe and its museum reserves to constitute the first reference monograph on Uli sculpture.
How did this project come about?
I have always had a strong interest in the arts. I first encountered those from the Oceania through Surrealism. After a first trip to New Guinea in 1997, the deep-rooted traditions left a strong impression on me. After a few pilgrimages, especially around the Sepik, I wanted to head for New Ireland, intrigued by the aesthetics of the Malangas, these figures made for burial and memorial ceremonies of the dead. So I [.../...]See more
Paris 3 September 2019
With over twenty years experience in African and Oceanian tribal art, Adrian Schlag now divides his time between Brussels ; where he opened a gallery on the Rue des Minimes in the late 1990s; and Ibiza, where he lives in the middle of nature for part of the year when not visiting his clients in Europe and the United States.
On the heels of Bruneaf (Brussels Non European Art Fair) in June, this renown dealer and member of the Royal Chamber of Antique Dealers of Belgium and the Belgium Chamber of Art Experts, will participate in the 18th edition of Parcours des Mondes, Paris 10-15 September, a must go-to for primitive art lovers.
Archaic pieces can still be found
Schlag’s gallery is located at the Bouquinerie de L’Institut in the fine arts district of Saint-Germain-des-Près. A highlight of the 15 pieces presented is a 67 cm wooden statuette representing an ancestral figure of the Septik-Ramu tradition (Papua New Guinea), formerly part of Gisela and Heinrich Wellmann’s collection which was acquired in Bremen between 1923 and 1978. [.../...]See more