The sale of African and Oceanic art concluded in Paris with an outstanding total of €8 million.
Just after the sale of the collection of Viviane Jutheau, Comtesse de Witt, a remarkable selection of African and Oceanic Art from private collectors fetched €2.6 million, with 83% of lots sold. Here the iconic works or ones making their first appearance at auction celebrated the prodigious formal inventiveness of artists from these continents and their impact on 20th-century art.
The sale was punctuated by three acquisitions by museums including two by the Quai Branly which enriched its collections with a Iatmul orator's stool and a Kanak spear, while an American institution acquired a Kongo Nkonde figure.
The sale was led by lot 44, a Lega figure which achieved €487,500. Collected between 1922 and 1947, this Lega figure, whose four heads probe all directions of the horizon, is one of the rarest and most iconic works in African art. Personifying Sakimatwematwe - the initiate of the highest rank who "sees and knows things unseen and unknown to others" - these figures, whose Surrealist aesthetic embodies the most important philosophical concepts in the Bwami secret society, were only revealed to the highest rank initiates.
This session was also a real consecration for Oceanic art. The drum from the Torres Strait, Melanesia, one of the oldest samples of Melanesian drums probably acquired in situ by John Graham, soared to €391,500.
Sotheby’s is pleased to announce our upcoming African and Oceanic Art sale in Paris on 14 December 2016.
After the sale of the Collection Viviane Jutheau - Comtesse de Witt (lots 1-22), a remarkable selection of African and Oceanic art from various owners will be offered for sale. The pieces, unpublished or emblematic, will celebrate the extraordinary formal inventiveness of artists from these continents and its impact on the art of the twentieth century. From Papua New Guinea to Polynesia, Côte d'Ivoire to South Africa, this selection will explore the infinite richness of the styles that nourish universal art history.