Before he departed as leader of the German Naval Expedition in New Ireland from November 1908 to June 1909 , Augustin Krämer was presented with photographs of eight Uli by Graf von Linden.
“The art of the Bismark Archipelago is the pinnacle of the development of original art on earth”
Augustin Krämer, 1925
© Jean-Philippe Beaulieu. Ethnographic Collection of the University of Goettingen
Recently arrived in Stuttgart and considered the masterpieces of the corpus, these Uli were collected between 1904 and 1908 by Governor Albert Hahl, the colonial administrators Wilhelm Wostrack and Franz Boluminski, and the representative of the Hersheim Company, Max Thiel. These pictures are at the end of the book entitled “Uli” one of fifteen unpublished notebooks which document Krämer’s research (Beaulieu, Uli, 2014, forthcoming). Comments collected during interviews with informants are written in ink or pencil, while the name of the village where the Uli was collected (if known) is written in ink at the bottom of the right-hand page. Following the Uli in the Fondation Beyeler and the Uli from the collection of Jacques Kerchache, the Uli from the Frum collections appears as number 7, which was collected by Wostrack in the village of Lévinko between 1904 and 1908. Among the words relating to the figure particularly notable are “Selambungin Antelou”, “Lorong” (chief), “agangkali” (face painting) and “aalandik” (coral belt).The last major Uli ceremony was probably held in Lamasong in 1905. According to information gathered by Krämer, this ceremony, organized by the chief Lipiu, gathered together ten Uli, presented by the heads of ten villages in honour of an eminent chief. Amongst the names of the ten chiefs listed in Krämer’s notebooks is that of Longgat - a patronymic identical to that of the chief of Lévinko, who had died a few months before Krämer’s visit in April 1909. It is likely that the Uli from the Frum collection was one of the ten presented at Lamasong in 1905, shortly before it was collected by Wostrack.The “Wostrack-Krämer” Uli is one of the masterpieces of this iconic corpus. Its very rare documentation lifts it out of anonymity to occupy a major place in the history of the art of New Ireland.