PARIS – September at Sotheby's Paris will see the sale of the collection of a prominent Canadian businessman, the late Dr Murray Frum. It is the most important group of Oceanic art to come onto the market in the last 30 years, including examples of some of the rarest works of Polynesian and Melanesian art, many with extraordinary history. Unique at this moment in time are a group of pre-contact Polynesian works of art.
Dr Murray Frum with a piece from his collection.
Aside from the exceptional academic credentials of the property, this sale exhibits the work of an astonishing collector who became a great friend. Dr Frum was a Canadian real estate developer, but he became renowned for his discerning eye and tremendous curiosity; his collection ultimately encompassed not only African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art, but also American Silver, Art Deco and Renaissance Art, as well as Canadian paintings.
Rarotonga Island Staff Top, Cook Islands. Estimate upon request.
These objects were displayed in Frum's elegant Modernist home, built by the Canadian architects Rhom Thom, Brigite Shim and Howard Sutcliffe, yet he was also a tremendously generous and philanthropic man: Dr Frum loaned to museums around the world, and he gave to the Art Gallery of Ontario not only an important part of his African art collection, but also a glorious Bernini sculpture, Corpus, from around 1650. These bequests demonstrated his deep conviction that African and Oceanic art should be considered as one of the great traditions of world art, and not as ethnographical specimens.
Maori Figure with Hair, New Zealand. Estimate €1,500,000–2,500,000.
Works from the collection will be on view during New York Tribal Art Week. They will be exhibited at Sotheby’s New York from 10–15 May alongside works from forthcoming African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art and Contemporary Art sales.
Uli Figure, New Ireland. Estimate €700,000–1,200,000.
Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie will be held at Sotheby's Paris on 18 June.