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Sotheby's May 2011 African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art Sales Bring $21.8 million
A Yombe Maternity Figure from the DRC is one of the finest sculptures from the Western Congo ever to have appeared at auction. The masterpiece has been widely exhibited and was formerly in the collection of Philippe Guimiot in Brussels (est. $150/250,000). It sold for: $1,874,500 (£1,151,413). Photo: Sotheby's.
NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art auctions today brought a combined total of $21,846,692, well over the high estimate (total est. $8.3/12.6 million).* The single owner sale of the Robert Rubin Collection of African Art fetched $11,742,188, many multiples of the pre-sale estimate (est. $2.5/3.9 million) and was 94% sold-by-lot. The afternoon saw the various owner sale of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art bring $10,104,504, also comfortably over the high estimate (est. $4.2/5.9 million). In total six objects sold for more than $1 million and there was strong institutional bidding.

Heinrich Schweizer, Head of the African and Oceanic Art Department in New York said: “We are delighted with the results of today’s sales which brought $21.8 million. The exceptional total achieved for the Robert Rubin Collection is a testament to Robert’s extraordinary taste and discernment. The market recognized that this was a once in a generation opportunity to acquire part of this distinguished collection. Throughout today’s sales we saw in-depth bidding and international participation.”

The Robert Rubin Collection
The Robert Rubin Collection was led by a Songye Male Power Figure which sold for $2,098,500 to set a new record for a Songye work at auction (est. $150/250,000). The piece is an icon of African Art that has been widely published and is one of the best small scale Songye figures to have appeared at auction. Other highlights included a Yombe Maternity Figure from the DRC, one of the finest sculptures from the Western Congo ever to have appeared at auction, which sold for $1,874,500 setting a new record for a Yombe work at auction (est. $150/250,000) and a Baule Male Ancestor Figure from Ivory Coast, the finest example of this type to appear at auction in recent memory which fetched $1,538,500, setting a new auction record for a Baule statue (est. $600/900,000).

African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art
The various owner sale was led by Yoruba Standing Female Figure Offering A Ram from Nigeria which sold for $1,650,500, several times the high estimate, to set a new auction record for a Yoruba piece (est. $200/400,000) and a Pair Of Elema Bird Masks from Papua New Guinea which were sought by five bidders before selling for $1,022,500 (est. $250/350,000). The afternoon auction also included a number of superb pieces from The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation. These were led by a Teotihuacan Greenstone Mask, circa. A.D. 450-650, which doubled the high estimate to sell for $530,500 (est. $150/250,000) and an Admiralty Islands Bowl In The Shape Of A Frigate Bird from Papua New Guinea which fetched $194,500 (est. $20/30,000).

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium



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May 14, 2011

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