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Sotheby's Sales of African, Oceanic, and Pre-Columbian Art Bring $12 Million
A Large Vera Cruz seated figure, Classic, ca. AD 450-650, of the El Zapotal style, a form which rarely appears at auction, is another highlight of the sale. Est. $125/150,000. Photo: Sotheby's.
NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s spring sales of African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian and American Indian Art brought a combined total of $12,383,819 today. The morning sale of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art brought a total of $9,915,376; Important American Indian, African, Oceanic and Other Works of Art from the Studio of Enrico Donati, totaled $1,023,004; and American Indian Art achieved $ 1,445,439.

African Art
Jean Fritts, Worldwide Director of African and Oceanic Art, commented, ‘‘We saw today a depth in the global bidding and buying as well as a great influx of new collectors entering the field at all levels of the market. It is clear that the market is truly global, and that it has expanded far beyond the traditional American and European collecting bases. We had strong participation from new buyers, some of whom participated at the highest level, and many of whom are familiar with other collecting areas and are entering the field of African and Oceanic Art to embrace works of the highest quality.’’

Heinrich Schweizer, Director of African and Oceanic Art in New York, noted, “It is significant to have two lots sell for over $2 million and to sell works at that level in both the African and Oceanic categories. We were also thrilled to achieve an average lot value of over $100,000 for the African and Oceanic works sold. Both of today’s top lots, the Lega Four- Headed Figure and the Biwat Male Ancestor Figure, were met with tremendous interest The prices achieved today are in line with the trend for iconic masterpieces seen over the last twelve months across collecting categories. Collectors compete vigorously for masterpiece quality. Historic price boundaries are wiped out and new records are set. We are currently experiencing a re-evaluation of the top of the market which increasingly closes the still existing gaps to other collecting areas such as modern and contemporary art.”

The morning sale of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art brought a total of $9,915,376, surpassing pre-sale expectations of $4.7/7.1 million. The sale was 95.3% sold by value and 79.9% sold by lot. Two works sold for more than $2 million and over half of the lots sold achieved prices in excess of their pre-sale high estimates. The auction’s highest price was achieved by a Lega Four-Headed Figure, Sakimatwematwe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, which sparked a battle between seven bidders. After several minutes, the piece finally sold to an anonymous bidder over the telephone for $2,210,500, more than forty times the expected price (est. $30/50,000) and achieved a world auction record for a Lega Figure. Also among the highlights of the African works on offer was a Banda Ancestor Figure from the Ubangi Region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo attributed to the Master of Mobaye, which sold for $326,500 (est. $250/400,000). Only eight figures have been attributed to the Master of Mobaye, who was active in the second half of the 19th century, and the present example is the only remaining figure on the market. A Fang Reliquary Head from Gabon with recently discovered exceptional provenance, including André Derain, achieved $326,500, surpassing a pre-sale estimate of $150/250,000.

Oceanic Art
The Oceanic works on offer were led by a Biwat (Mundugumor) Male Ancestor Spirit Figure from a Sacred Flute, wusear, Papua New Guinea, from the JOLIKA Collection of Marcia and John Friede, which was pursued by at least five collectors who pushed the final price to $2,098,500 (est. $1/1.5 million). No figure as complete or of such high quality is known ever to have appeared at auction. An Asmat Shield, Unir (Lorenz) River, Irian Jaya, also from the JOLIKA Collection, totaled $338,500, more than doubling the presale high estimate of $100,000. All eleven works offered from the JOLIKA Collection found buyers, with most achieving prices that were multiples of their presale estimates. A Rarotonga or Atiu Pole Club, Akatara, Cook Islands from a Private European Collection also performed well, bringing $326,500 (est. $250/350,000).

Pre-Columbian Art
Stacy Goodman, Senior Consultant, Pre-Columbian Art, said, ‘‘We achieved strong prices today, spurred by competition from a broad range of both new collectors and clients who have been participating in this field for many years. Our results show a continued enthusiasm for this collecting category, which is only represented once a year. Our annual sale is an anticipated event among collectors.’’

A rare Taino Wood Snuffer, Haiti, ca. AD 1300-1500 is one of only three known examples and has remained in the same collection since the 1930s; it sold today for $290,500, making it the top lot of the Pre-Columbian art offered this morning (est. $80/120,000). A Large Vera Cruz seated figure, Classic, ca. AD 450-650, of the El Zapotal style, a form which rarely appears at auction, was another highlight of the sale, selling for $278,500 (est. $125/150,000). A fine group of Costa Rican polychrome ceramics from a Private Collection sold extremely competitively due to the fine quality.

Important American Indian, African, Oceanic and Other Works of Art from the Studio of Enrico Donati
Speaking of today’s sales, David Roche, Senior Consultant, American Indian Art, said, “We are thrilled with the results of today’s sales. We received global interest in our sales, particularly the works from Enrico Donati’s collection, and we saw a large number of new clients bidding and buying. Private collectors were out in force today snapping up the best material, and we are delighted to have set a new world record for a basket at auction with the sale of the Large Yokuts Pictorial Coiled Gambling Tray.”

The day continued with a single-owner sale of Important American Indian, African, Oceanic and Other Works of Art from the Studio of Enrico Donati, which totaled $1,023,004 (est. $600/940,000). The auction was 95.7% sold by lot and 82.2% sold by value. The sale comprised works from Surrealist painter Enrico Donati’s studio in the landmark Gainsborough Building on Central Park South. In his studio, Donati mixed Eskimo masks and kachina figures with his own work, works of his contemporaries, found objects, stones, fossils, and the mystical mandragora root to create an entirely new world, and a fountain of inspiration.

The session’s top price was achieved by An Important and Rare Eskimo Polychrome Wood Mask, Yup’ik or Anvik, which totaled $362,500 (est. $300/500,000). The mask would likely have been used for both festival dancing and shamanistic activities, however its specific meaning remains an enigma, the mystery of which is part of the strong attraction Donati and his Surrealist compatriots had for Eskimo art during the middle of the 20th century. Donati’s collection of Hopi kachina dolls was also particularly sought-after, with many achieving prices that were many multiples of their estimates. A Large Hopi Polychrome Wood Kachina Doll depicting a Snake Priest was pursued by at least five collectors and brought a total price of $104,500 when it sold to a client bidding by telephone (est. $25/35,000). A Large Haida Wood Feast Bowl was also among the top lots of the sale and achieved $104,500 (est. $60/90,000).

A various-owner sale of American Indian Art followed, which achieved $ 1,445,439 (est. $1.1/1.5 million). The sale was 85.8% sold by value and 63.6% sold by lot and was led by A Large Yokuts Pictorial Coiled Gambling Tray, which totaled $374,500 (est. $180/220,000), setting a world record for a basket at auction.

Sotheby's | Heinrich Schweizer | African and Oceanic Art | Jean Fritts |




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May 15, 2010

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Michigan's ArtPrize 2010 Announces Additional Juried Awards

MoMA Acquires Matthew Barney's "Drawing Restraint" Series

Royal Air Force Museum Unveils The Battle Of Britain Beacon

Peter Blum Gallery Opens Group Exhibition "Reflection"

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Laurel Gitlen Presents Joseph Montgomery's First Solo Show in New York

Halsey Minor and Contemporary Art Sale at Phillips de Pury Totals $37,901,000

AIA NY Chapter Announces Winner of Its Biennial Design Competition

Basquiat & Contemporary Middle Eastern Art Bring Strong Results at Bonhams

DeCordova First-Ever to Host Barbara Norfleet's Landscape of War Series

Once in a Lifetime Jade Collection Sells for 2.3 Million Pounds at Bonhams

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"A Vernacular of Violence", a Group Exhibition at Invisible-Exports

Five Museums Win Share of 75,000 Pound Contemporary Craft Funding Pot

Prestigious Art and Antique Galleries Host Madison Avenue Gallery Walk

May 14, 2010

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Presents Han Van Meegeren's Fake Vermeers

Important Works by Russian Masters and Fabergé to Be Offered at Christie's

Bice Curiger Appointed Director of the 54th International Art Exhibition for 2011

New Commissioned Works by Julie Mehretu on View at the Guggenheim

Seattle Art Museum Exhibition Explores the Life and Work of Kurt Cobain

British/Japanese Artist Simon Fujiwara Wins The Cartier Award 2010

Contemporary Art Fair of Athens Opens with 58 Galleries from 11 Countries

Rare Roman Marble Relief Leads Christie's Auction of Antiquities

De La Warr Pavilion Opens Antony Gormley's Critical Mass

John Grade's Newest Site Specific Sculpture at Cynthia Reeves

Carolyn Hill, Former Executive Director of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Dies

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The Center for Architecture Hosts an Exhibition that Explores the Fusion of Solar Technology and Industrial Design

Ex-Raider Edelman Fights Back over Giacometti Loan

May 13, 2010

American Sculptor Richard Serra Wins Spain's Prestigious Prince of Asturias Award

International Center of Photography Acquires Roman Vishniac Archive

Andy Warhol's Self Portrait from 1986 Sells for a Record $32.6 Million

Italian Old Master Drawings on View at Metropolitan Museum

Huntington Acquires Newly Identified Portrait by Major French Artist

Art 41 Basel Announces Art Projects in the Public Space

Contemporary Art Sale in New York Sees More Big Prices

Jeff Bailey Gallery Presents "All This and Not Ordinary" a Group Exhibition

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Niki Ciccotelli Named Director of Education at Crystal Bridges Museum

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Suit of Japanese Armour Sells for 120,000 Pounds at Bonhams

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May 12, 2010

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May 11, 2010

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May 10, 2010

Pera Museum Welcomes Colombian Artist Fernando Botero's First Encounter with Istanbul

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