S otheby's is proud to present, on 30 November, its traditional winter sale dedicated to the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Paying tribute to the genius of the anonymous artists who created them, the works selected for the Paris session, whether iconic or previously unseen, will masterfully illustrate the diversity of creations from these continents. This collection will also bear witness to the importance of the first great European collectors, from Louis Carré to Baron Rollin, and dealers in this field, such as Hélène Leloup and Pierre Vérité, who throughout the 20th century drew attention to these arts from far off places.
In addition to the main portion of the sale devoted to Africa and Oceania, a refined selection of works from North, Central and South America will offer a complete panorama of the creative genius of the artists who have had such an influence on Western art of the 20th century.
In Africa, the idea of the artist is very important, even if their names are not known and the works are mostly unsigned. A few "masters" have been identified and are a brilliant testimony to these artistic individualities. In this sale, a remarkable body of works from the Baule people allows us to understand this idea of the hand of the master and also to pay a vibrant tribute to these anonymous artists.
Since modern Western artists became aware of the diverse forms of African and Oceanic sculptures at the beginning of the 20th century, African and Oceanic art have gradually shed its ethnographic categorization and joined the level of all universal art. Masterpieces have been acquired by the largest private and public collections, testifying to the diversity and quality of artistic creations from Africa and Oceania.
From the elegance of the Fang statuary in Gabon to the power of the Songye sculptural works in the Congo, or the technical refinement of the Kota reliquary figures from Gabon, African and Oceanic art offer a wide panorama of creations from highly abstract to deeply powerful depictions of the human figure. Even while these masterpieces are now reaching world record prices it is still quite possible to start a collection of quality African and Oceanic Art by following some of the following ideas.