When Mr and Mrs Rosenthal acquired a malangan frieze from New Ireland nearly 40 years ago, it was the first step in building a magnificent collection of Oceanic art, inspired by the impact of the field on the Expressionists and French Surrealists.
The leading piece of his New Ireland group of eight figures is a rare and striking figure standing on one leg (lot 7). Both arms are outstretched and the body shows the exposed ribcage, with his liver - considered the seat of a person's life-force - visible. Once owned by Paul Eluard and Maurice de Vlaminck, both the esteemed provenance and the publication history reflect the period when artists changed the way the world considered the arts of Oceania. Further illustrating the sense of beauty and quest for quality that epitomises the Rosenthal Collection is a superb Maori nephrite pendant coming from the collection of the Comtesse de Béhague (lot 11) and considered to be one of the most remarkable examples of Maori ornament.