The Russell B. Aitken Collection
Of African, American Indian & Oceanic Art
> up to Benin-Bronze
> go to Nigeria
Sale 1278 3 April 2003, 10:00 am
Following an absence from Christie's New York auction calendar, tribal art made
a comeback this spring with an offering of rare and exquisite pieces from the
legendary collection of Russell B. Aitken (1910-2002), the renowned ceramic
artist, journalist and hunter.
20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York. It was a very successful auction.
The small but very fine collection sold at huge prices to the crowded room in
the Rockefeller Plaza.
Long hidden from the public eye, many of the objects were featured in various
art publications and exhibited at a number of museums such as the Brooklyn
Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, both in New York.
Of note is an important plaque depicting an oba (monarch)—perhaps the
great warrior king Esigie—that would have once adorned the palace in Benin
City (lot 64). The well-known British collector Augustus Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers,
impressed with this plaque, published three different views of the piece in his
book, Antique Works of Art from the City of Benin.
Further important objects include a superb Fang male reliquary figure (lot 69)
and a Yoruba horse and rider (lot 58).
Also featured are a superb Bambara antelope dance headdress (lot 52), several
Masai and Kikuyu shields, many of which were acquired on Aitken's numerous
A selection of American Indian art is highlighted by a fine Northwest Chief's
ceremonial wood rattle (lot 29).
Please visit Christie's picture
gallery to view highlights of this sale.
the catalogue to view the entire sale
Read more about the Aitken
Also read an essay by Louis Perrois, Fang
and Kota, The Great Sculptural Traditions of Equatorial Africa.
View other property from the Aitken Collection sold at Christie's (sales 1319
read also: Fang and
Kota by Louis Perrois
treasures by Tim Teuten