Neumeister 15 May 2013

Two personal favourites from the last Neumeister auction (which was not very succesful, to be polite).

A fine ere ibeji pair in a known style that sold for € 4,500.

Ibeji pair Neumeister

To quote myself from my book on ibeji:

Ibeji of this type (with protruding lozenge-shaped eyes and a low-set pointed mouth), are described in the literature as originating from various Igbomina villages and cities. Similar examples have been found in Oro (25 km. to the north of Ila-Orangun), Ijomu-Oro (a few kilometers northeast of Oro), Esie (2 km. to the southeast of Oro), Oke-Onigbin (15 km. east of Oro and half-way to Omu-Aran), Ijara-Isin (5 kilometers northeast of Oke-Onigbin) and Omu-Aran (30 km. northeast of Ila-Orangun). In the circular area so described, Oke-Onigbin is centrally positioned, making this well-known artists’ village a plausible place of origin for this ibeji type. George Chemeche, with his diplomatic description ‘Oro/Omu-Aran region’, has provided the most accurate attribution for this local Igbomina sub-style.

And a fantastic Swazi headrest, which sold for only € 900.
Swazi headrest Neumeister

(all images courtesy of Neumeister)


The Cobbs, 27 April 2013 – a Mende sleeper

Under the direction of Scott Rodolitz this New Hampshire auction house recently had its first African art sale. You can download the catalogue here.

Of particular importance in this auction was a rare Mende staff with an early documented provenance. It was brought to Canada from Africa by Capt. J.L. Boddy and presented to E.D. Manchee in 1907 (as stated by his 1925 will). Only a handful of these staffs are currently known, most of them being much younger than this one. It sold for $ 10,800.

Mende staff Cobbs
Mende staff Cobbs head

UPDATE: Christie’s will be selling another early collected (ca. 1885) Mende staff next month.

In the same auction two nice Nupe posts (mounted upside down) remained unsold with an estimate of $ 900- 1,200.

Nupe posts Cobbs

(all images courtesy of The Cobbs)


African forms @ Bonhams NY, 15 May 2013

As already mentioned in my previous post, the last Bonhams sale in NY featured a lot of leftovers from the collection of Marc & Denyze Ginzberg.

The most important part of this famed collection was sold by Sotheby’s Paris on 10 September 2007 . In New York, Jacaranda also has been offering objects of daily use with the noted Ginzberg provenance. And now, Bonhams sold another 100 pieces. To my suprise many below the estimate .

For attentive buyers there were some interesting bargains to be made; some examples:

– a Banyambo spear, published in African forms, sold for only $ 3,750 inc. premium. Note that Sotheby’s sold a similar spear from the Ginzberg collection in 2007 for € 12,000 inc. premium.

Banyambo Spear Bonhams

– a wonderful Guro spoon (incorrectly listed as Dan in the catalogue) sold for only $ 600 inc. premium.

Guro spoon Bonhams

Three whistles selling for $ 250 inc premium is just ridiculous – that’s even lower than regular prices on Ebay.

Ginzberg whistles

– a personal favourite was this double miniature Lega stool. A very rare find, for $ 875 inc. premium almost for free.

Lega stool Bonhams

– the Igbo stool featured on the front cover of the African forms addendum made $ 1,125 inc. premium.

Igbo stool

Some objects even failed to sell, for example this wonderful Zulu pipe:

Zulu pipe

(all images courtesy of Bonhams)

So who’s to blame ? A disinterested public ? Bonhams, for not creating enough fuzz about these objects ? The end of the ‘African forms’ hype ? Or, again, the economic crisis ?


Auction results Bonhams NY, 15 May 2013

A short review of the results of the Bonhams sale of May 15th in NY. Before aftersale, about 50 % of the lots were sold. Overall results were as expected. Many of the excellent objects of daily use from the collection of Marc & Denyze Ginzberg were sold for next to nothing. The Chokwe figure on the front cover failed to sell, which shouldn’t be a suprise seen the high estimate.

Bonhams 15 May 2015

Some personal favourites:

– a rare Mossi doorpost, which sold for $ 3,125 inc. premium. A wonderful abstract form at a bargain price.

Mossi post Bonhams

– an interesting Yoruba door, which sold for $ 5,000 inc premium. It is featured in Henry Drewal’s African Artistry: Technique and Aesthetics in Yoruba Sculpture; a must read by the way.

Yoruba door Bonhams

– a miniature Songye figure with a turned head, wich sold for $ 20,000 inc. premium. Seen the difference in patination the body most likely once was covered. Two other figures from this artist are known.

Songye figure Bonhams

(images courtesy of Bonhams)


Native auction catalogue online

The online catalogue of the next Native sale in Brussels is now available (their fifth sale already).

You can find it here.

Native 8 June 2013

The Fang spoon on the front cover is a masterpiece. A nice find for this emerging auction house!


If you still need an excuse to buy an Ipad

The catalogue of the Collection Françoise et Jean Corlay (Sotheby’s, Paris) is now available as an Ipad app.

Corlay collection

Or, just browse online here.


Zemanek 25 May 2013

The new Zemanek catalogue is online.

Download it here.

Zemanek May 2013

Notice the fantastic Ibibio mask on the cover, a rare find with an excised eye (unfortunately not visible on the front cover).