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Catalog online: Christie’s, SPLENDORS, Paris, 30 October 2019

I’m proud to report the catalog for our main fall sale, SPLENDORS, is now available online here.

The sale takes place in Paris on October 30th at 4pm and the viewing days are:

23 Oct, 10am – 6pm
24 Oct, 10am – 6pm
25 Oct, 10am – 6pm
26 Oct, 10am – 6pm
28 Oct, 10am – 6pm
29 Oct, 10am – 4pm

SPLENDORS features an exquisite selection of African and Oceanic art from a princely collection. Build by a gentleman-collector with an incredible eye for quality, this group truly celebrates the art we love so much. SPLENDORS as well features an exceptional private collection of North West Coast art from British Colombia. This unique group of about twenty works took the collector 30 years to assemble and brings together masterpieces from the Haida, Tlingit and neighboring peoples. All objects were meticulously selected and can be considered to be among the best of their kind. It’s a type of collection that only appears on the market once every decade and a not to be missed event. Additionally, we’ll be presenting a select group of fresh-to-the market discoveries, including several objects formerly in the collection of Pierre Matisse among which a previously unknown Ambete statue. I hope to welcome you in Paris for the preview later this month. To match the quality of the objects, we have taken their presentation to a next level, so it surely will be worth a visit. As always, don’t be a stranger and feel free to contact me if I can be of any service.

Catalog online: Christie’s, PARIS AVANT-GARDE, 17 October 2019

On October 17th, the African art department of Christie’s Paris is teaming up with their colleagues at the Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art departments for the fourth edition of the highly successful sale concept PARIS AVANT-GARDE. Taking place at the art market’s most dynamic week in France, this sale will for the first time include African art besides and exceptional selection of carefully selected and fresh to the market paintings and sculptures.

Among the artists who had a special relationship to the French capital, Pablo Picasso, René Magritte, André Breton, Max Ernst, Fernand Léger along with Nicolas de Staël, Pierre Soulages, Hans Arp, Jean Dubuffet and Zao Wou-Ki, all will be present with works in this curated sale. As for the African art, we’re proud to present one of the best seated Baule statues known, collected by Roger Bédiat and previously in the collection of Myron Kunin, and an exquisite Baule mask once in the collection of Helena Rubinstein – to which the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac will dedicate an exhibition in November. You can download a pdf with the African art selection HERE or visit the sale’s page on our website here.

The sale takes place in Paris on October 17th at 7pm and the viewing days are:

12 Oct, 10am – 6pm
13 Oct, 2pm – 6pm
14 Oct, 10am – 6pm
15 Oct, 10am – 6pm
16 Oct, 10am – 6pm
17 Oct, 10am – 4pm

As you can see in the catalog the selection is truly exceptional, and we’re very proud to be the first auction house ever to mix paintings of this quality with top-level African art in a single sale. As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can be of any assistance. Hope to see you there. As for the catalog for our main sale on October 30th, it should be online in the coming days, you’ll be the first to know so stay tuned.

 

 

Save the date(s): Christie’s fall sales of African, Oceanic and North-American Art

Dear reader, I hope you had a relaxing Summer and are energized for an exciting fall season at Christie’s Paris. Please be kind to mark the following dates in your agenda:

– on 11, 12, 13, 14 & 16 September you are invited at Christie’s Paris for an exclusive first view of the highlights of our fall sales
– on 13 September we are hosting a conference about the influence of North West Coast Art on the Surrealists by Marie Mauzé, followed by a champagne reception (let me know if you want to get an invitation!)
– on 17 October we’re proud to be part of the prestigious PARIS AVANT-GARDE sale, which will include several African masterworks (among which a rediscovered Baule mask formerly in the Helena Rubinstein collection)
– the preview of the PARIS AVANT-GARDE sale takes place on 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 & 17 October
– last, but not least, on 30 October we have our main fall sale SPLENDORS, with the preview taking place on 24, 25, 26, 28 and 29 October

SPLENDORS features an exceptional private collection of North West Coast art from British Colombia, among which the Tsimshian spirit mask illustrated above. This unique group of about twenty works took the collector 30 years to assemble and brings together masterpieces from the Haida, Tlingit and neighboring peoples. All objects were meticulously selected and can be considered to be among the best of their kind. A collection of a kind that only appears on the market once every decade and we are very proud to bring it to the market. SPLENDORS as well features an exquisite selection of African and Oceanic art from a princely collection. Build by a gentleman with an incredible eye for quality, it features another twenty objects, among which several of the great icons of their type. Additionally, we’ll be presenting a select group of fresh-to-the market discoveries, including several objects formerly in the collection of Pierre Matisse. We’re currently finishing the catalog and hope to have it ready by mid-September. As always, yours truly has his hands full, but I look forwarding to welcoming you in Paris. Just drop me a line, if none of the above dates would fit in your schedule and we’ll work out a private viewing.

 

Auction alert: Christie’s, Art of Africa – Masterworks, New York, May 14, 2019

I’m pleased to announce our Art of Africa – Masterworks sale, which will take place on May 14, 2019 at Christie’s New York. The auction is an exceptional sale featuring nine masterworks of African Art and will coincide with Christie’s 20th Century Week sales. Once more, a meticulously curated sale with only very special objects. You can find more information about them HERE.

Pièce du résistance of this catalog obviously is the Songye Kifwebe mask, the most beautiful and important example of its type remaining in private hands. Through the sculptor’s use of powerful proportion and the waves of graphic lines, the mask creates an optical illusion that can be perceived as hypnotic. The Kifwebe type of mask remains one of the most iconic in all African artistry and has inspired and compelled artist of the 20th century and appears prominently in the works of Alexander Calder and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Therefor, it’s only obvious we’re bringing it to the market at the time of our major modern and contemporary art sales. Extensive research further revealed this mask was already exhibited in Brussels as early in 1933, in the first African art exhibition with works coming from a single private collection, that of Jeanne Walschot, Belgium’s Nancy Cunard and the first ever female African art dealer. Read more about this masterpiece here. Other highlights of the sale include a Picassoesque Grebo/Kru mask from Liberia, an extremely rare black Punu mask and an enigmatic Chokwe costume. Please come preview the sale at the Rockefeller Center on:

7 May, 10am – 5pm
8 May, 10am – 5pm
9 May, 10am – 5pm
10 May, 10am – 5pm
11 May, 10am – 5pm (with a guided tour and champagne at 3:30pm!)
12 May, 1pm – 5pm
13 May, 10am – 5pm

The sale is on 14 May at 6:30pm. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can be of any assistance. Hope to see you in New York !

The Lost Gods of Easter Island by David Attenborough (2000)

If you haven’t seen this great BBC documentary written and presented by David Attenborough yet, you can now watch it online HERE. Attenborough embarks on a personal quest to uncover the history of a wooden Easter Island statue which he bought at Christie’s in the 1980s. We follow him on an investigation to uncover the mysteries of his statue; a journey that takes him from Russia to Australia, England, the Pacific, a Tahiti beach and finally to one of the most remote places on earth, Easter Island.

Yours truly recently also made a short documentary about an Easter Island statue. You can see me talking about the moai kavakava from the James Hooper collection HERE – we’ll be selling it next week in Paris among many other Oceanic masterworks (info).

Catalog online: Christie’s, African, Oceanic and North American Art, Paris, 10 April 2019

I’m very proud to announce the catalog of our April 10th auction in Paris is now available online HERE. I hope it explains the radio silence on these pages these last few months. Indeed, in 2018 Christie’s for the second year in a row was the market leader for African and Oceanic art! Hence I did not have much time to blog. Our forthcoming sale features a strong selection of Oceanic art, coinciding with the exhibition Oceania at the Musée du Quai Branly after its first stop at the Royal Academy in London earlier this year. In response to this momentum we have chosen to respond with a tightly curated group of Oceanic masterpieces. The crown jewel of this group is an iconic moai kavakava statue from Rapa Nui. Formerly in the legendary James Hooper collection, is was last seen at auction exactly 40 years ago at Christie’s London, and it is broadly considered as being one of the most classical of its type. The Oceanic section further includes the Sepik collection of an anonymous Dutch collector, amassed over a period of 30 years and showing the genius of Sepik sculptors through a broad range of first-class objects. Additionaly, from various important private collections, we have brought together a strong group of works from New Ireland (including two Uli’s, on which a monograph will appear later this year) and several top pieces from the Maori. The sale starts with an exciting group of Alaskan treasures from the collection of the French painter Antoine Tzapoff. The African section features a section dedicated to the trailblazing French dealer Maine Durieu, who left us too soon 3 years ago. A group of 12 objects from one of her loyal clients celebrates this much missed taste-maker. Last but not least, and a personal favorite, is the below Kongo couple, collected by Edmund Dartevelle in 1936, among many others exciting works fresh to the market. I sincerely hope you’ll find these 121 objects worthy of your attention and would love to welcome you in Paris during our preview days starting on April 5th. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can be of any assistance..

Catalogs October 30th Christie’s African and Oceanic art sales online

I’m happy to report you can now browse the catalogs of our upcoming sales taking place in Paris on Tuesday October 30th; you can download the catalogue of the Stoclet collection on this page (as previously announced here), or browse the lots of our second sale here. This auction (taking place immediately after Stoclet) includes property from various distinguished private collections: fresh to the market Oceanic treasures from the Fortess collection, a selection of objects from the collection of Claude Berri (the famous French movie director), an anonymous French private collection assembled with great taste by a female collector from the 1960s until the 1980s, and the collection of Jacques and Denise Schwob, assembled before 1955 and unseen for more than half a century (including the cover lot). The catalogs are printed and on their way. I hope to see you in Paris for the viewing days on:

Wednesday 24 October, 10am – 6pm
Thursday 25 October, 10am – 6pm
Friday 26 October, 10am – 6pm
Saturday 27 October, 10am – 6pm
Monday 29 October, 10am – 6pm

The sales are on Tuesday 30 October at 4pm. As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can be of any service.

Christie’s announces sale of African and Oceanic art from the Adolphe Stoclet Collection

I’m very proud to announce Christie’s will be selling African and Oceanic masterpieces from the collection of Adolphe Stoclet in Paris on October 30th. Highlights will be on view this week in Paris for the occasion of Parcours des Mondes on Wednesday from 2pm to 6pm, and on Thursday and Friday from 10am until 6pm. You’re most welcome to a cocktail celebrating this announcement on Thursday evening at 6:30pm at Avenue Matignon 9.

Adolphe Stoclet was a very important Belgian patron of the arts in the early decades of the 20th century and is most famous for commissioning pioneer Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann and the Wiener Werkstätte with the construction of his private mansion in Brussels. Palais Stoclet, classified as a World Heritage site by Unesco since 2009, was the home of this unseen collection to be sold by Christie’s in October. Stoclet is also remembered as an avid art collector with an avant-garde taste. Long before eclecticism became a trend, he juxtaposed archaic Chinese bronzes, early Greek sculpture, medieval bronzes, Italian ‘primitive’ Quattrocento paintings, and African and Oceanic art in his private residence. These rediscovered treasures have never been on the market before and only a few have been published or exhibited. The collection features a strong group of Congolese ivories, an exceptional kifwebe mask from the Songye, an important royal Luba-Shankadi stool, and the best zoomorphic Yaka headrest to remain in private hands. We are still working hard on the catalog, but it should be available online by mid-September.

Besides the Stoclet sale, we are also having a second auction in Paris on October 30th with objects coming from different important private collections. Highlights of this sale will also be on view in Paris later this week. I hope to meet you there!

Jeanne Claessens

I’m happy to report I’ve added another daughter to my collection of kids: Jeanne Claessens was born earlier this month. Both mother and daughter are doing very well and we couldn’t be more happy. As with Felix, and Garance, there’s of course a link with African art, as Jeanne Walschot was the first female dealer of African art in Belgium, and a serious collector as well.

Throwing throwing knives

The US based dealer Ethan Rider, specialized in African knives, had a fun afternoon of experimental ethnology recently when he decided to actually for once try out the Congolese throwing knives he’d been selling for years. The pictures and videos that he produced that day are worth a look and can be found here. Especially the last video, with the Banda knife, is very impressive. It’s amazing to see these flying through the air. Don’t try this at home!

ps in the last issue of Tribal Art Magazine, Ethan also wrote a great expose about fake African knives made by the Austrian blacksmith Tilman Hebeisen together with Wolf-Dieter Miersch; you can read it here.