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Good results on december 3 , 2004 in Paris. Benin art is still in favour by African art lovers, with two World records for Sotheby's
France on Benin Bronzes. Sale Total: 3,434,700 EUR. A few auction results:
Estimate: 100,000—120,000 EUR
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 142,400 EUR
Lot 109: IMPORTANTE TÊTE COMMÉMORATIVE ROYALE, EDO, ROYAUME DE BÉNIN, XIXE SIÈCLE, NIGERIA
[AN IMPORTANT BENIN ROYAL COMMEMORATIVE HEAD, EDO, KINGDOM OF BENIN, XIX CENTURY, NIGERIA ]
Estimate: 150,000—200,000 EUR
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 456,000 EUR
Lot 119: AN IMPORTANT BENIN BRASS PLAQUE OF A DIGNITARY WEARING A HELMET, EDO, NIGERIA, CIRCA XVI – XVII CENTURY
Estimate: 200,000 EUR—300,000 EUR
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 691,200 EUR
AN IMPORTANT YORUBA DIVINATION TRAY, OWO REGION, NIGERIA,
45 cm X 7cm
Estimate: 30,000—45,000 EUR
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 142,400 EUR
PARIS, France - AFRICAN AND OCEANIC ART
BAUDOUIN DE GRUNNE COLLECTION - PETER ET VEENA SCHNELL COLLECTION & VARIOUS OWNERS
FRIDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2004 PARIS
Important throne that once belonged to King Behanzin, the sovereign of Abomey who ruled from 1889 to 1894. This elegant throne, in the shape of a curule seat, rests on a high stand with open work geometric motifs and has a modern aspect.
One of the most important events organized by Sotheby's in Paris this autumn will be the sale of African and Oceanic art objects, a fitting tribute to the central position occupied by Paris in this field. The sale will include some exceptional pieces from two celebrated collections - those of Baudouin de Grunne and Peter and Veena Schnell - as well as important works from various other sources.
Part of the items on sale at the Sotheby's auction on Friday 3 Dcember are from the father of Bernard de Grunne. His son Bernard the Grunne is organizing an auction on saturday 4 december at Artcurial Paris.
BAUDOUIN DE GRUNNE COLLECTION
After the successful sale of the Baudouin de Grunne collection of African art at Sotheby's New York in spring 2000, it will be the turn of the Galerie Charpentier to receive the Oceanic art works of this Belgian art lover. Since the 1960s, Baudouin de Grunne, in the manner of a humanist, has been equally open to modern Western art and to African and Oceanic art. In 1970, Brussels was the nerve centre of the market for African and Oceanic art, and in view of the broad range material available, Baudouin de Grunne decided to concentrate on the finest pieces, thus turning his collection into the ultimate reference in this area. His collection of Oceanic art is probably one of the most attractive to appear on the market for a long time.
The figurehead of a canoe from New Georgia, Solomon Islands, is one of the oldest known examples. It has the shape of a human head stretching forward, with a body reduced to two arms joined together under the chin. According to traditional beliefs, it is endowed with protective powers. The blackened face, embellished with scarification marks inlaid with mother-of-pearl, is a refined example of the production of the Western Solomon Islands (estimate: 80,000-120,000 € Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 142,400 EUR ).
The collection includes a very old Maori Hei Tiki, from New Zealand, of an unusual size (height: 18.5 cm). Until the first voyage of Captain Cook to Polynesia in 1769, this ancestral figure was reserved exclusively for high-ranking personalities (estimate: 40,000-60,000 € Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 48,000 EUR).
Seated cross-legged on a pedestal, a very attractive statue of a women from the Leti archipelago in Indonesia (estimate: 20,000-30,000 €), is one of the rare examples of old works from this region, which produced only a limited number of sculptures. A Carbon 14 analysis of this piece dates it to around 1800. The fact that it had been carefully preserved despite the difficult weather conditions of this Indonesian archipelago until it was collected in 1970, demonstrates its importance in the eyes of the Leti population. Baudouin de Grunne collected four Leti statues that will be part of this sale.
An exceptional "pre-contact" Maori treasure box from New Zealand (estimate: 50,000-70,000 €), of the 18th century or earlier stands out because of its large size (57 cm long) and the quality of its ornamentation. It is rectangular and is sculpted with two big tiki figures facing each other, one female and the other male. The very fine brown-patina decoration was created with tools made of stone and shells, which explains why it is such a unique object.
Peter and Veena Schnell Collection
The success of the two previous sales of works from this collection bears witness both to the discerning taste of Peter and Veena Schnell, and to quality of the objects they acquired, all of which have remained in the same collection since the 1950s. This Swiss collectors started their collection by seeking the advice of well-known experts, such as William Fagg, former curator of the Museum of Mankind in London. Over a period of twenty years, he acquired items from European dealers, including Maria Wyss (Basle), Emil Storrer (Zurich), Ohly and F.H. North (London) and Sotheby's in London.
The third part consists of spectacular bronzes from the Kingdom of Benin, Nigeria, including two 16th-17th century plaques and a 19th- century royal memorial head, all reflecting the prestigious history of the European collections of Benin art. The first one comes from the Webster collection, of Dr. H. Meyer (1858-1929) and then the Leipzig Volkerkunde Museum. Its iconography is extremely unusual. Portraying a standing dignitary in a military costume wearing a Portuguese helmet (estimate: 200,000-300,000 €), it is one of the rare representations of this type. The combination of size (54 cm. high), meticulously detailed decoration, and extremely high relief make this and exceptional example of its kind. The second plaque was once part of the collection of the British Museum in London, whence it was de-accessioned in 1960. The subject is a dignitary holding a rattle, whose high rank is indicated by the necklace with multiple rows and ankle rings (estimate: 100,000-150,000 €). The royal memorial head, collected by the Fleet Paymaster, William Hawken Rowe, in Benin City in 1897, represents an oba, an idealised image of the king, highlighting his immense powers. The very naturalistic face reveals an exceptionally sophisticated bronze casting technique (estimate: 150,000-200,000 €).
In addition to these two prestigious collections, the sale also includes an important throne that once belonged to King Behanzin, the sovereign of Abomey (Dahomey, the now called Benin) who ruled from 1889 to 1894. This elegant throne, in the shape of a curule seat, rests on a high stand with open work geometric motifs (estimate: 100,000-120,000 €), and has a modern aspect.
This seat is exceptional because of its aesthetic qualities, its historic importance as an item of regalia of the last independent king of Abomey, and the rarity of royal objects from Abomey. In 1892, on the approach of the French troops commanded by Colonel Dodds, King Behanzin set the royal palaces on fire, and when the town of Abomey was captured, most of the treasures of this kingdom had disappeared. Dodds discovered a few items symbolising royal power hidden away in the capital, including this throne, the principal emblem of the kings of Abomey. On his return to France, he offered it to the Minister of the Navy, the grandfather of the present owner.
Every king possessed several thrones that were used during major ceremonies. Among the works saved from the fire and brought back by Dodds was a second throne listed as having belonged to King Behanzin, which he presented to the Museum of Ethnography at Trocadero in 1895. It is now part of the collections of the Quai Branly Museum.
Finally, a superb Punu/Lumbo mask from Gabon, known as mukuyi, collected between 1903 and 1908, is a stylistic variation of the most classic white masks of Ogowe. It is surmounted by a bulky crest framed by two braids, while the face is decorated with scarification motifs formed of nine scales in the shape of a lozenge, on the forehead, and in the shape of a rectangle on each temple (estimate: 70,000-100,000 € unsold).
Sale conducted by Alain Renner, Stéphanie Denizet, expert Jean Fritts on December 3, 2004 at:
info found at found at Artdaily.com and sothebys
AFRICAN AND OCEANIC ART
COLLECTION VEENA ET PETER SCHNELL, COLLECTION BAUDOUIN DE GRUNNE ET DIVERS AMATEURS
|Sale PF4011 | 03 Dec 04
76, rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré
Tel: 33 1 53 05 53 05
Sale Total: 3,434,700 EUR
The lots above were sold at the prices stated. Omitted lot numbers indicate items that were withdrawn, passed, or unsold as of the publication of this list. Prices are listed in euro's and include the Buyer's Premium. This list is for informational purposes only; Sotheby's is not responsible for typographical errors or omissions.
For telephone results:
New York: (212) 606-7901
London: (44) 207 293 5855
For Paris sales: Vente dirigée par Alain Renner. Agrément n°2001-002 du 25 octobre 2001
Prices shown reflect the Hammer price plus Buyer's Premium. They do not reflect any Value Added Tax (VAT) or (Australian) Goods and Services Tax
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Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart
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