Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sotheby's African & Oceanic Auction - Paris December 5, 2007

On December 5, 2007 Sotheby's Paris has two auctions -
1) A single owner sale of 15 lots from Brian & Diane Leyden's great Bete & Senufo collection and
2) A sale of 158 lots from various owners.

I imagine the Leyden's are using the strong market for top material to lighten up on a few items and allow them to diversify their collection. The pieces are first rate and should do well.

Highlights of the single owner sale include a Benin plaque (est 150,000 - 250,000 EUR), a Cameroon Fon figure (est 250,000 - 350,000 EUR and pictured above , a Kwele mask (220,000 - 280,000 EUR) and a stunning squatting Bembe figure at 70,000 - 100,000 EUR (pictured above)

The sale features a handful of lots from South and East Africa (lots 95 - 104). Lot 99 comprises 12 Zulu spoons and was acquired in a small auction in South Africa 2 months ago. Lot 100 comprises 2 pipes and 2 snuffs including an interesting zoomorphic pipe. Lot 101 is a maternity figure, slightly stubby and not quite as elegant as the finest Baboon Master staffs, but authentic nevertheless and this is reflected in the estimate of 6,000-9,000 EUR. Lots 103 and 104 (illustrated above) are quite unusual Lozi walking sticks, probably made for resale, but attractive and nicely carved (est. 3,000-5,000 EUR and 4,000 - 6,000 EUR respectively).

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bonhams African and Oceanic Auction November 13, 2007

Bonhams, New York holds its inaugural New York African and Oceanic auction on November 13, 2007.

Session 1 is a various owner sale comprising 269 lots. Of interest to the Southern African collector are lots 2267, 2268 and 2269. Lot 2268, estimated at $20,000-$25,000 is a maternity staff. Lot 2267 is an atypical staff, probably Zulu, ex William Brill collection with an estimate of $3,000-$4,000. Lot 2269 is a small crouching male figure with headring, probably made for sale, estimated at $2,00o-$3,000.

Session 2 comprises 116 lots from the Gelbard Collection.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Skinner Auction Results - September 23, 2007

Skinner held an American Indian and Ethnographic auction in Boston this morning. Bidding was strong and many items exceeded their estimates.

The star of the auction was a Plains beaded war shirt pictured above(lot 166) estimated at $150,000-$200,000 which fetched $303,000 (includes buyer's premium).

Among the African items, some notable prices were:

Lot 64 - Fang figure $22,325 (est. $5,000-$7,000) pictured above
Lot 69 - a Lega male figure $22,325 (est. $5,000-$7,000).


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Zemanek-Munster Auction results - Sept. 22, 2007

The 51st Zemanek-Munster Tribal art auction was held today in Wurzburg, Germany. Below are some noteworthy results :

Lot 114 - Ashanti comb - 3,500 EUR
Lot 155 - Senufo staff ex Horstmann - 3,000 EUR
Lot 173 - Bassa female ancestor figure ex Brill - 4,500 EUR
Lot 249 - Dan mask ex Schlag - 19,000 EUR
Lot 257 - Geure mask ex Verite - 6,500 EUR
Lot 400 - Yoruba helmet mask - 11,000 EUR
Lot 457 - Fang figure - 16,000 EUR
Lot 467 - Punu mask - 12,000 EUR
Lot 474 - Bembe ancestor figures - 12,500 EUR
Lot 541 - Songye nkisi ex Kegel-Konietzko- 10,000 EUR
Lot 609 - Herero woman's costume - 9,500 EUR. My personal favorite and way underestimated at 350 EUR. These ensembles are extremely rare and this one had two leather bonnets (pictured above), two leg ornaments and a corset-like garment of ostrich egg shells. Supposedly collected in situ in 1904 - around the time of the Herero uprising which resulted in a genocide of the Herero, inflicted on them by their German colonial masters.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Upcoming Exhibitions and Auctions

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's long-awaited show Eternal Ancestors: The Art of the Central African Reliquary opens October 2, 2007 and runs through March 2, 2008. Curated by Alisa LaGamma, the shows features over 150 works from European and American collections. The works are from Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo.

Interestingly, the show also features sacred relics from other world cultures, drawn from the Met's vast collections. This show is not to be missed. A catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

San Francisco Tribal, comprised of 18 dealers from the San Francisco Bay area, are holding their 3rd annual tribal show from October 12 -14, 2007.

On the auction front, is auctioning pieces from the Hernsheim collection on September 30, 2007, including an important Uli figure (estimate 532,000 EUR) - see illustration above.

Zemanek is holding an auction on September 22, 2007 and Skinner is holding an American Indian and Ethnographic Auction on September 23, 2007.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Marc & Denyse Ginzberg auction at Sotheby's Paris - September 2007

On Monday September 10, 2007 the much anticipated sale of Marc & Denyse Ginzberg's African Art collection took place at Sotheby's Paris.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend but I am told the attendance was very good. The auction was well promoted by Sotheby's, with a fine catalogue and an artful pre-auction display. The sale was timed to take place on the eve of the opening of the annual Parcours des Mondes. The sale had objects from throughout Africa and had something for everyone, although the upscale setting may have intimidated the smaller collector.

The sale was the first major African Art auction solely comprised of non-figurative works (well, there was actually one figurative work - LOT 101) and so there was much anticipation over sale results. Working in the sale's favor was the Ginzberg's highly-regarded book African Forms as well as Marc & Denyse's proven track record as collectors and most people were rooting for the sale to do well.

Everyone I spoke to felt the sale was a success, and the total realized was 1,032,000 EUR (including commission). The star lots before the sale were the Mangbetu drum (LOT 36), the Kikuyu shield (LOT 5) and the Zulu snuff container (LOT 101) and none of them disappointed, with the drum fetching 110,400 EUR, the shield 108,000 EUR and the snuff 72,000 EUR (all prices include commission). I wasn't surprised by any of these prices - all great objects with broad appeal. The shields in particular did very well with a Madagascar shield (LOT25) fetching an astounding 26,400 EUR. The shields are very decorative and may have appealed to decorators or individuals who are not strictly tribal collectors.

I personally found the Fulani earrings (LOT 54) to be gorgeous and they fetched 15,000 EUR. Some other big prices were for the Zulu headrest LOT 160 (quite unique and with an old repair) at 20,400 EUR , the Lega spoon (LOT 149) 36,000 EUR and two Baule lots (LOT 75 & 76) fetched 21,600 EUR and 22,800 EUR respectively.

Almost all lots sold, partly due to the conservative estimates. There were definitely bargains to be had (e.g. the Shona headrest LOT 159 fetched a modest 2,880 EUR) and I was lucky enough to get some wonderful Zulu objects that I had always admired at Marc's home. It's sad to see the collection split up as it served a valuable purpose in educating people worldwide about the beauty of these everyday utilitarian objects and Marc & Denyse were always generous in sharing it with others.


Jacaranda Tribal Blog

Thanks for visiting the Jacaranda Tribal blog.

I'll be making frequent postings about all things related to tribal art. I look forward to your comments and participation.

Daniel Rootenberg