Monday, June 28, 2010

Sotheby's Oceanic and African Art Sale Earns $8.4 Million

Sotheby’s concluded its June sales of Oceanic and African art in Paris on Wednesday, achieving a total of $8,448,741.

Of the 82 lots on offer, 12 works from the collection of Marsha and John Friede spurred a fierce bidding competition, with many pieces exceeding their estimates. The highest-earning work in the sale was an early-19th-century Hembigurea ancestor figure from the Congo, which fetched $1,042,109 above the high estimate of $619,150. This June marks the 50th anniversary of the Congo's independence.

Other top lots included a 42-inch carved female figure by a craftsman of the Inyai-Ewa People, which earned $685,133; the work had previously been in the collection of Douglas Newton, a former curator, who built The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Another crouching female figure that had been included in the first show of Oceanic art in the U.S., at Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York in 1934, was sold for $476,897, a price that more than doubled the high estimate.

Oceanic art has inspired numerous modern masters such as Paul Klee, Alberto Giacometti, and Pablo Picasso. The sales in New York last month and Paris on Wednesday showed a continued global interest in collecting this category as they achieved strong prices far exceeding the estimates.

By: Louise Chen

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