A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
Goldet African art collection sold in major Paris auction
Yoruba Oshe Shango (Dance Wand)
The total proceedings of 88.5 millions francs ($ 11.3 million) twice exceeded the low-end estimation of 40 million francs ($ 5.1 million) for the 644 objects.
"I think this is the triumph of the choices of Hubert Goldet, who has been able to gather all these objects," auctionneer Francois de Ricqles said on Monday.
The two-day auction featured mostly objects from Western Africa and was billed as the most important sale of African art since the New York auction of the Helena Rubenstein collection in 1966, according to Ricqles.
"This collection is very important because it has exceptional objects, and a great number of objects, and astonishing sets, and has belongued to prestigious collectors and many pieces were exhibited around the world," said Nathalie Antolini, a spokeswoman for Ricqles.
One of an estimated twelve similar artifacts of the Western African Mbete tribe, the painted wood statue was estimated from 6 to 8 million francs ($775,000 to $1 million), and went to an anonymous european buyer for 14 million francs ($ 8 million).
She compared the sale of the Mbete artifact to the 1989 auction of a Bamileke queen statue in New York City. This wooden statue belonged to the collection of Harry A. Franklin and was auctioned off for $3.8 million.
Other objects at the Parisian auction this weekend fetched record prices, such as a Tsokwe "table of rituals" which went for 7.5 million francs ($ 960,000) to an European , and a Mukuye mask, also known as "the Goldet Punu," auctioned off for 3.4 million francs ($ 438,000).
Although some of the auction's most important sales went to European art connoisseurs, several objects will travel the world, such as a golden Baoule statue, acquired by the Smithonian Museum of Washington D.C. for 420.000 francs ($54,193).
The collection belonged to French art connoisseur Hubert Goldet, who spent 30 years tracking down African masks, statues, furniture and jewelry at auctions and galleries.
"During a lifelong quest, Hubert Goldet assembled one of the world's finest collections of tribal art. Those who had the privilege of visiting his Parisian home will always remember the moving experience of viewing his 640 objects, unparalleled in quality and diversity," the statement said.
Born in 1945 to a wealthy family in Paris, Goldet was educated at the Ecole du Louvre and spent three years at Sotheby's auction house in London before returning to France and founding Art Press, a contemporary art magazine.
He started collecting African art pieces in 1971. Goldet died in March last year, aged 55.
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