A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
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TRAVELLING EXHIBITION OF THE STANOFF AFRICAN ART
Paris: 08 Jun 07
African and Oceanic Art
23 June 2:30 pm Nicole and John Dintenfass collection of important African Art catalogue
PARIS - ARTS OF AFRICA, OCEANIA AND THE AMERICAS
THE NICOLE AND JOHN DINTENFASS COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART & VARIOUS COLLECTORS
SALE IN PARIS ON 23 JUNE 2006
of Africa, Oceanian and the Americas, Various Owners
ENTIRE SALE - TUESDAY 20 TO THURSDAY 22 JUNE 2006
Agrément N° 2001 – 002 du 25 octobre 2001
Vente dirigée par Philipp Duc de Württemberg, Alain Renner, Stéphanie
Paris, 13 April 2006 – The musée du quai Branly, devoted to non-Western art, will open its doors to the public on 23 June 2006. In celebration of this major event, Sotheby’s France will hold an exceptional sale on this day. On offer will be important African and Oceanic art, and for the first time in Paris, a selection of North American Indian and Australian Aboriginal art, from prestigious collections.
THE NICOLE AND JOHN DINTENFASS COLLECTION
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES
Exposé et reproduit dans :
On June 23rd, Sotheby's Gallery Charpentier will present a single owner American collection of African art in Paris for the first time. The Collection consists of 60 important sculptures originating mainly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This high level of quality in this ensemble reflects four decades spent constructing a highly personal collection, driven by an unbridled search for quality and rarity.
Nicole and John Dintenfass obtained great pleasure in the intimate relationships with the works of art they collect.
Monumental Miniatures’ After meeting the British artist Josef Herman (1911-2000), Drs Nicole and John Dintenfass focused part of their collection on the rare, small-scale African sculptures, or miniatures. This part of the collection appears as monumental, an ideal fusion between intimacy and sensitivity.
In the 1970s, they travelled around Europe – England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands – to acquire pieces for Herman and for themselves.
Fifteen works from the ‘miniature’ collection are included in this sale, some of them from the Josef Herman Collection. William Fagg devoted two books to the Herman collection, one published in 1970 and the other in 1985.
The Dintenfass collection is a perfect reflection of the relentless search undertaken by Nicole and John for sculptures that were both rare and of outstanding quality.
Each piece displays an artistic individuality and the extraordinary creativity of African sculptors.
Highlights from the auction include:
A majestic Fang reliquary guardian figure from Gabon bears a large metal necklace rolled into a spiral (estimate on request). Based on its style, it can be attributed to a sculptor from the north west region of Gabon, south of Equatorial Guinea, at the junction between the Betsi and Ntumu stylistic areas.
It is probably from the former Collection of Madeleine Rousseau, who owned a significant collection of African, Oceanic, and American Indian art.
In 1948 Rousseau became actively involved in promoting African cultures, and was responsible, along with Cheick Anta Diop, for producing a landmark issue of Arts Vivants devoted to the traditional and contemporary cultures of sub-Saharan Africa. Among the pieces from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an exceptional Luba caryatid stool from the Patricia Withofs Collection portrays a female figure standing on a slightly concavebase and bearing a circular seat.
This stool stands out for its remarkable plastic qualities, combining powerful stylised volumes with elegant elongated limbs and a delicately featured face (estimate: €150,000 / 200,000* - illustration opposite). Stylistically the stool belongs to the Samba workshop, situated to the north of the Songye-Luba region, along the River Congo. Only a few rare examples are known. Caryatid stools were reserved for the kingand were therefore considered as the receptacle of his spirit and as such were secluded and guarded by a dignitary specially appointed for the purpose.
A unique Luba power figure, from the Ernst Anspach Collection represents the bust of a woman with volumes summarised by basic lines and emphasised by large copper nails. The face has simplified features, and the ears issue long plant stems (estimate: €150,000 / 180,000 - illustration opposite).
Most Luba cult figures, of which few exist, depict women as their image symbolises the social ideal and political power. It is significant that this work once belonged to Anspach, who amassed one of the most important American collections of African art. The Museum of Primitive Art in New York even devoted an exhibition to his collection in 1967. No other known examples of Luba art reconcile this kind of plastic solution withthe brilliant monumentality of Luba sculpture. A large Mangbetu figure, once owned by Albert de Bailliencourt and then later by Arman, represents a hieratic female figure, the body covered in scarifications (estimate: €300,000 / 400,000 ).
Large-scale Mangbetu statues are extremely rare. The few known examples, such as the couple in the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren or the female figure at the American Museum of NaturalHistory, New York share similar features: they are carved from light-coloured wood, display anelongated head and a body adorned with tattoos.
ARTS OF AFRICA, OCEANIA AND THE AMERICAS FROM VARIOUS OWNERS
A second catalog presents sculptures from various collections, and gives insight in to the views of collectors of African, Oceanic, American Indian and Australian Aboriginal art since the 19thcentury. The sale will include pieces collected in Oceania by an English traveller in the late 19thcentury, a Fang reliquary statue, formerly in the collection of the Parisian collector and art dealer Paul Guillaume, and photographs taken in the 1930s by a colonial administrator in the former Belgian Congo. The sale also features collections formed during the same period by the artist Charles Hug from Zurich, as well as the collector Georg Tillmann from Holland, then by the art historian Helmut Zake from Heidelberg, Germany. A separate section of the auction features a remarkable ensemble of African art from a major private European collection of contemporary art.
Among the most distinctive works is the powerful Songye power figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, acquired by Dr. Lucien Van Hoorde in 1934-1935 (estimate: €200,000 /250,000). In his book, Redoutable statuaire Songyé d’Afrique centrale (2004), the scholar François Neyt published this fetish as exemplary of the style of the central and southern Kalebwe. The offered lot is characterised by a head with full and rounded volumes, angular cheeks, a rectangular beard, rough-hewn forms, and a ringed neck.
A fine Edo bronze plaque from the Kingdom of Benin (Nigeria,16thto
17thcenturies), portrays a dignitary from the Court of Benin brandishing a
mysterious rectangular object in his right hand (estimate: €120,000 /
200,000). The plaque has a most interesting provenance: originally in the
collection of the Museum fűr Völkerkunde Frankfurt am Main, the piece was
de-accessioned and sold to the noted Parisian collector and dealer, Charles
Ratton. Georg Tillmann, a Dutch collector, acquired the plaque from Ratton, and
later deposited the piece in the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam at the outbreak of the
Second World War along with the rest of his collection.
From the Ivory Coast is an old Baule mask, formerly in the collection of the German art historian, Helmut Zake. The mask depicts the face of an adult female, with features illustrating the Baule canons of beauty. This Kpan mask is remarkable not only for its very attractive proportions but also for its extremely subtle modeling (estimate: €65,000 / 90,000).
An impressive Bangwa statue of a prisoner, from Cameroon, belonging to an important European collector of contemporary art, and represents the quality of work from this collection offered for sale. Pierre Harter in his landmark book, the Arts anciens du Cameroun (1986) featured this figure. According to the author, this rare figure is “very fine [showing] a powerful torso with an astonishing sensitivity in the volumes”.
The figure is probably of a captured or executed dignitary (estimate: €200,000
/ 300,000- illustration opposite).
ARTS OF THE AMERICAS
To celebrate the various cultures that will come under the spotlights at the Musée du Quai Branly, for the first time in Paris, Sotheby’s Paris will auction a group of Native American Indian art and a significant Australian Aboriginal painting.
The arts of the Native Americans are represented by a particularly fine ensemble of Hopi kachina dolls, from the Andréa Portago Collection. The most important among them, Shalako Mana Dancing (circa 1875), is considered to be a masterpiece of Amerindian art. Estimated at €200,000 to 300,000, it was acquired at the Alan Kessler sale held at Sotheby’s New York in December 1997.Finally, Ningura Naparrula (born in 1938), a leading Australian Aboriginal artist, is one of the eight aboriginal artists who have contributed to the site of the Musée du Quai Branly.
She has created a magnificent painting on canvas for the sale of 23 June. It is entitled Women at Wirrulnga (244 x 183 cm), and will be sold for the benefit of the Western Desert Dialysis Appeal, a health programme for which Sotheby’s has already raised 1 million Australian dollars. * Estimate excluding buyer’s premium
Sotheby’s France – Galerie Charpentier 76 rue du Faubourg St Honoré –75 008 Paris
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