Lot 18
  • 18

Dan Female Figure, Ivory Coast or Liberia

Estimate
250,000 - 350,000 USD
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Description

  • wood, glass beads, metal, fiber
  • Height: 20 3/4 in (52.7 cm)
on a base by the Japanese wood artist Kichiz├┤ Inagaki (1876-1951), Paris.

Provenance

Josef Müller, Paris and Solothurn, by 1939
Jean-Paul Barbier-Mueller, Geneva, by descent from the above
Musée Barbier-Mueller, Geneva (inv. no. "1003-5")
Lance and Roberta Entwistle, London, acquired from the above
Myron Kunin, Minneapolis, acquired from the above on March 10, 1995

Exhibited

Rietberg Museum Zürich, Zurich, Die Kunst der Dan, October 17 - November 21, 1976
Musée Barbier-Mueller, Geneva, Collection Barbier-Müller Genève: Sculptures d’Afrique, Spring - Summer, 1978
Kunstmuseum Solothurn, Solothurn, Exotische Kunst aus der Barbier-Müller Sammlung: Amerika, Afrika, Südsee, 1981
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Afrikanische Kunst aus der Sammlung Barbier-Mueller, February 27 - April 10, 1988; additional venues:
Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, June 4 - August 14, 1988
Haus der Kunst, Munich, December 17, 1988 - February 19, 1989
Musée Rath, Geneva, March 15 - May 15, 1989
Hamline University Art Galleries, Saint Paul, Icons of Perfection: Figurative Sculpture from Africa, December 2, 2005 - February 11, 2006

Literature

Eberhard Fischer and Hans Himmelheber, Die Kunst der Dan, Zurich, 1976, p. 152, fig. 140
Jean Louis Paudrat and Claude Savary, Collection Barbier-Müller Genève: Sculptures d’Afrique, Geneva, 1977, p. 81, fig. 13
Julie Jones, Jean-Louis Paudrat, Christian Kaufmann, Exotische Kunst aus der Barbier-Müller Sammlung: Amerika, Afrika, Südsee, Solothurn, 1981, p. 77
Eberhard Fischer and Hans Himmelheber, The Art of the Dan in West Africa, Zurich, 1984, p. 116, fig. 131
Werner Schmalenbach, Afrikanische Kunst aus der Sammlung Barbier-Mueller, Munich, 1988, p. 118, cat. 51
Jean-Paul Barbier, Arts de la Côte d'Ivoire, Geneva, 1993, Vol. 2, p. 67, fig. 101
Frank Herreman, Icons of Perfection:  Figurative Sculpture from Africa, St. Paul, 2006, p. 22, cat. 7

Condition

Very good condition for an object of this type and age. An open age crack to the body extending from inside proper right breast down through torso and into pelvis, and another age cracks to collar area above proper right breast as seen in catalogue photograph. Other minor hairline age cracks including to proper left side of face. Loss to two fingers on proper left hand. Fronts of feet broken and glued. Minor marks, nicks, scratches, abrasions, and small chips consistent with age and ritual handling. Square metal sleeve embedded in the underside of the proper left foot for attachment to base. Exceptionally fine glossy blackened patina, rubbed and with encrustation in crevices. Barbier-Muller inventory number painted in white on underside of proper left foot: "BMG 1003-5". Inagaki base with stamped maker's mark behind proper right foot. Paper label under the base from Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, D├╝sseldorf.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Catalogue Note

In Dan culture, beautiful, idealized sculptures of women were conceived as portraits of specific individuals. They served as important markers of status, conferring distinction upon both their owners and the subjects they represented.  The Kunin Dan female statue, previously in the collection of Josef Müller, and then the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva, is of an unusual and particularly refined style, featuring a dramatically rounded head and exceptionally fine detail.

This figure was acquired by Josef Müller before 1939.  A major collector of Modern art and particularly of the work of Pablo Picasso, Müller started collecting African art in the 1920s. Today his collection forms the core of the Musée Barbier-Mueller in Geneva. Also notable is the figure's base by the Japanese wood artist Kichizô Inagaki (1876-1951), Paris.