african maskssothebys new york nov 06
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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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Sotheby's New york November 2006 
Africa, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art 

Maya Shell Pendant Sothebys New York

Sotheby's African art department
1334 York Avenue at 72nd St
New York, New York 10021
USA Tel: (212) 606-7000

A Maya Shell Pendant, Late Classic, ca. A.D. 550-950, of unusual and evocative form (est. $15/25,000).

Sothebys New york Brill17 Nov 06 The William W. Brill Collection of African Art [N08287]Browse Catalogue (needs registration) or Event Details

sothebys nov 0617 Nov 06 African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art [N08246] various collections Browse Catalogue (needs registration) or Event Details

found at artdaily nov 06

NEOn November 17th, 2006, Sotheby’s will hold its fall various-owners sale of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art, featuring a number of private collections, including approximately 80 lots originally in the collection of the English artist Jacob Epstein, 70 lots from the late New York collector Carol Meyer and a number of works from the Collection of Josephine & Walter Buhl Ford II. Property from the sale will be on exhibition in Sotheby’s 6th floor galleries from November 12th through 16th, and the sale is expected to bring $2.3/3.4 million. A separate press release is available for The William W. Brill Collection of African Art, to also take place on November 17th.

Highlighting Sotheby's fall various-owners sale of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art are 80 lots from an important private European collection. Included in this offering is a pair of large Inca silver figures, ca. A.D. 1450-1532 (est. $15/20,000 and $10/15,000), a pair of superb Marquesas Islands figures, formerly in the collection of Ambroise Vollard and published among others in Carl Einstein’s 1917 ‘Negerplastik’ and Paul Guillaume’s ‘Sculptures Negres’ (est. $150/250,000), and a superb Fang reliquary Head, formerly in collection of André Derain (est. $250/350,000). The majority of works were acquired from the collection of Jacob Epstein (d. 1956), who along with Henry Moore was one of the preeminent British sculptors of the early 20th century. Epstein, similar to Picasso or the Fauvists – especially Matisse, Derain and Vlaminck – began collecting African art around 1905, well before it attracted art dealers and private collectors. It was during his visits to Paris in the early years that he discovered this form of art. The formal characteristics were to become a determining factor in his artistic career, providing a source of inspiration for his future work. Later Epstein made his first purchase from Joseph Brummer, one of the first Parisian dealers in African and Oceanic art. He expanded his collection throughout his life, especially in the 1930s. During these years, he bought from Louis Carré and Charles Ratton, and in London from Webster, as well as from auction sales such as the famous Walter Brody Collection sold at Sotheby’s London in 1930. In 1960 the Arts Council of Great Britain exhibited a large portion of the eclectic Epstein collection in London: “The Epstein Collection of Primitive and Exotic Sculpture”.

Also on offer is a superb Senufo rhythm pounder, used by the Senufo tribe of the Ivory Coast during funeral ceremonies. This highly important statue is distinguished from other objects of its kind by a remarkable sculptural motion. The body rotates inward in two opposing directions, creating a tension between upper and lower halves and resolving in a dynamic unified form. This bidirectional composition is juxtaposed with a cubistic set of shapes that converge in a powerful female body. Acquired in 1969 from the renowned dealer Harry Franklin of Beverly Hills, the sculpture has remained with a single owner until its current emergence onto the market (pictured on page 1, est. $150/250,000).

Another cornerstone of the sale is an important Fang Reliquary Guardian Figure, with powerful body and pious countenance. A glossy oil patina on the face attests that this sculpture was the object of countless libation ceremonies performed in connection with the Byeri cult. Owned by the seminal dealer Paul Guillaume and the Impressionist painter Maurice de Vlaminck, the sculpture was among the first African artworks to be unveiled to the American public, when it was exhibited in 1933 in New York -- alongside Modern art -- during the formative exhibition, Paintings of André Derain and Sculptures of Gabon, at the Durand-Ruel Gallery (est. $100/150,000).

From the Oceanic section is a rare Pentecost face mask that was collected at the end of the 19th century by Reverend Morton, a prominent missionary throughout Polynesia. Anthropomorphic in its features, the mask exudes enigmatic iconography: a very narrow face is bisected by a protruding crescent nose, while fin-like extensions flank deep hollow eyes. A thin horizontal almond shaped rim indicates the mouth and stands in contrast with a diagonal axis connecting the eyes, evoking an uncanny, almost hypnotic expression. The early collecting history, the archaic style and the almost petrified appearance of the wood suggest that this is one of the oldest, possibly archetypal instances of its kind - a speculation supported by C-14 dating this mask to the 17th/18th century (est. $60/90,000).

In the Pre-Columbian section, the sale will feature approximately 70 lots from the late New York collector Carol Meyer, including a Maya Shell Pendant, Late Classic, ca. A.D. 550-950, of unusual and evocative form (est. $15/25,000). The slender face tapers into an openwork disc of a woven design, a symbol of royalty and authority. The overall design serves as a sculptural version of a Maya ‘speech scroll’, signifying the importance of the wearer of such an ornament. This pendant was exhibited at the Hillwood Art Museum of Long Island University in 1997 in the exhibition Conchas Precolombianas: Mesoamerican Art Created From Seashells.

From a section of lots from the Collection of Josephine & Walter Buhl Ford II is a Mezcala Stone figure, Type M24, Late Preclassic, ca. 300-100 B.C., of large and strong proportions with distinctive openwork arms (est. $20/30,000), and a Chontal Stone Mask, Late Preclassic, ca. 300-100 B.C., which was most likely attached to burial bundles. Of large rectangular form, with characteristic pierced mouth and eyes, the face is sculpted with prominent cheek bones, grooves accenting the cheeks and with projecting brows, a small ‘horn’ on the forehead, the tapering ear flanges in speckled green-gray diorite (est. $10/20,000). The Ford section also includes two fine Sican gold beakers, one embossed with frogs in high relief, originally acquired in 1965 from the New York dealer/ collector Allan Caplan.


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In this section:
Sothebys New York report 11 Nov 05
sothebys report05-part2
Sothebys vente Nahon-Vence
sothebys new york nov 06 

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The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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