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SOTHEBY'S SALE OF AFRICAN AND OCEANIC ART IN PARIS
15 December 2016
Category : MARKET


 

The sale of African and Oceanic art concluded by Sotheby's on December 14 in Paris realized an outstanding total of €8 million.

 

Just after the sale of the collection of Viviane Jutheau, Comtesse de Witt, a remarkable selection of African and Oceanic Art from private collectors fetched €2.6 million, with 83% of lots sold. Here the iconic works or ones making their first appearance at auction celebrated the prodigious formal inventiveness of artists from these continents and their impact on 20th-century art.

 

The sale was punctuated by three acquisitions by museums including two by the Quai Branly which enriched its collections with a Iatmul orator's stool and a Kanak spear, while an American institution acquired a Kongo Nkonde figure.

 

The sale was led by a Lega figure which achieved €487,500. Collected between 1922 and 1947, this Lega figure, whose four heads probe all directions of the horizon, is one of the rarest and most iconic works in African art. Personifying Sakimatwematwe - the initiate of the highest rank who "sees and knows things unseen and unknown to others" - these figures, whose Surrealist aesthetic embodies the most important philosophical concepts in the Bwami secret society, were only revealed to the highest rank initiates.

 

This session was also a real consecration for Oceanic art. The drum from the Torres Strait, Melanesia, one of the oldest samples of Melanesian drums probably acquired in situ by John Graham, soared to €391,500.

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