9 Exquisite Masterpieces: African & Oceanic Art Highlights

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On December 12th in Paris, the auction of African and Oceanic art will include a highly curated selection of works which pay tribute to the remarkable richness of this area in art history. With highlights ranging from historical pieces to recently discovered masterpieces of exquisite quality, the auction will explore the vitality of these styles and celebrate the inventiveness of the artists from this continent, and its impact on 20th century art. Click ahead to view sale highlights.

African & Oceanic Art
12 December 2017 | 6:00pm CET | Paris

9 Exquisite Masterpieces: African & Oceanic Art Highlights

  • Fang head, Gabon.
    Estimate: €1,500,000–2,500,000.
    A masterful celebration of the original ancestor and of the budding recognition of African Arts, this masterpiece beautifully conveys the universal beauty of Fang art and lies at the heart of the historic Louis Carré Collection. 



     



    African & Oceanic Art
    12 December 2017 | 6:00pm CET | Paris

  • Pair of rapa, Easter Island, Polynesia.
    Estimate: €1,000,000–1,500,000.
    Aesthetic pleasure is the only luxury that the Pascuans allowed themselves, evidenced in their array of monuments and stone statues. The rapa corpus stands out as one of the most accomplished in Polynesian art. In the case of this masterpiece, their unique history has allowed two rapa to remain together for several centuries after their creation.



     



    African & Oceanic Art
    12 December 2017 | 6:00pm CET | Paris

  • Grebo / Krou mask, Liberia.
    Estimate: €700,000–1,000,000.
    In the early twentieth century, these masks were a source of fascination for Apollinaire and, more significantly, for Picasso, who owned several of them. Around 1912 the discovery of the Grebo masks (Bakwe / Neyo / Godie) had a decisive impact on the advent of synthetic cubism, and with this mask there is an added element in the presence of eight tubular eyes - a sign of its power: granting access to the unseen.



     



    African & Oceanic Art
    12 December 2017 | 6:00pm CET | Paris

  • Edo head, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria, XVIIe-XVIIIe century.
    Estimate: €600,000–900,000.
    In the 1930s, France, followed closely by the United States, discovered the royal court art of the Kingdom of Benin via several major exhibitions. Its celebration was a worldwide consecration of the extraordinary talent of the Edo bronze masters, of the past splendour of the Kingdom of Benin, and of the induction of African civilisations into universal art history. One of the key proponents of this diffusion was Parisian collector and art dealer Louis Carré. This commemorative head, which he acquired in Paris in 1936, is a beautiful example of the royal court art of Benin and of the history of its recognition.



     



    African & Oceanic Art
    12 December 2017 | 6:00pm CET | Paris

  • Punu Mask, Gabon.
    Estimate: €300,000–500,000.
    This mask is at the acme of a tradition where religious and profane notions of the sacred unite in the exaltation of beauty. Its individuality transcends conventional iconography, and reveals the talent of the artist as well as the process of its creation. Primarily used in spectacular okuyi performances, this mask's beautiful sculpted face still mesmerises us today.



     



    African & Oceanic Art
    12 December 2017 | 6:00pm CET | Paris

  • Kota Obamba reliquary figures, Gabon.
    Estimate (Lot 28): €70,000–100,000; (Lot 37): €120,000–180,000.
    Symbolic representations of the ancestors they honour, these mbulu ngulu effigies transcend, in the case of the first effigy, (lot 37) the so-called "classical" style of Kota art, and in the case of the second (lot 28) the outstanding cubist style. Whilst drawing from the artistic techniques characteristic of the Obamba style, both artists have masterfully combined feelings of presence and dignity.


    Go to Lot 28




     



    Go to Lot 37



     



    African & Oceanic Art



    12 December 2017 | 6:00pm CET | Paris

  • Dan / Kran figure, Libera / Côte d’Ivoire.
    Estimate: €200,000–300,000.
    This statue, formerly of the Joseph Muller and Myron Kunin collections, stands out for its grace and the harmony of its proportions. The beauty of this idealised woman, adorned with glass and iron ornaments, reflects the remarkable talent of a Kran sculptor who, whilst abiding by traditional style, still managed to express his individual artistic vision.



     



    African & Oceanic Art
    12 December 2017 | 6:00pm CET | Paris

  • Songye figure, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    Estimate: €180,000–250,000.
    Songye statuary is born of a threefold social arrangement: the sculptor, the blacksmith (associated with the sacred power of the ancestors) and the diviner-priest (nganga). The efficiency of the work, which becomes a vector of cosmic forces and ancestral presence, is here remarkably conveyed by the imposing sculptural presence, combining forcefulness in the body and sensitivity in the face. It expresses through the hand of a great sculptor, all the complexity and the richness of the Songye mind.



     



    African & Oceanic Art
    12 December 2017 | 6:00pm CET | Paris

  • Mumuye figure, Nigeria.
    Estimate: €150,000–200,000.
    This figure beautifully illustrates the influence of the “Master sculptors” in the emergence of the great styles of the Mumuye statuary. Although its design evokes the visual vocabulary which founded Cubism, it stands out first and foremost for the boldness of its artistic vision and the ingenuity of form that Mumuye artists placed at the heart of their creations.



     



    African & Oceanic Art
    12 December 2017 | 6:00pm CET | Paris

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