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African and Oceanic Art
Sotheby's
10:15AM, November 11, 2005
Sale 8132

Female figure, Madagascar, Sakalava Vezo

Lot 154, female figure, Madagascar, Sakalava Vezo, 20 inches high

By Carter B. Horsley

This auction of African and Oceanic Art at Sotheby's November 15, 2005 is highlighted by a marvelous group of weathered wood statues from Magagascar, Sakalava Vezo that are hauntingly beautiful.

Lot 154 is the most spectacular work in this group, all of which were acquired from Arne Ekstrom, Cordier and Ekstrom Gallery in New York in the mid-1980s. It is 20 inches high and has fragmentraay legs beneath a skirt tapering upward to the slightly arched torse. The lot has a very conservative estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It was passed at $22,500.

The catalogue entry indicates that this figure appears "to be from a small corpus of works by the same hand as two other well-known figures formerly in the De Grunne Collection and it quotes an expert as stating tht it seems "to come from one of the nine or so funerary sites in the region of Morondova on Madagascar's wetern coast," adding that the Vezo are a fishing population who should be distinguished from the surrounding Sakalava with whom they are often confounded and to whom Vezo funerary art is sometimes erroneously attributed."

The sale was not very successful with more than a third of the lots not selling.

Female figure, Madagascar

Lot 153, female figure, Madagascar, Sakalava Vezo, 20 1/2 inches high

Lot 153 is also said to be by the same hand as Lot 154 in the catalogue. The women's face is open-mouthed and she has an elaborate coiffure. It also has a modest estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It failed to sell and was passed at $22,500.

Maternity figure, Madagascar, Sakalava

Lot 151, maternity figure, Madagascar, Sakalava, possibly Vezo

The tallest figure in this group is Lot 151, a maternity figure that is 35 inches high. The catalogue notes that it is Sakalava, possibly Vezo. The figure's left arm supports a baby behind her back. This lot has a very modest estimate of $8,000 to $10,000. It was passed at $6,000.

A fourth Madagascar, Sakalava figure is lot 152, which is 32 inches high and is distinguished by an elaborate coiffure and the fact that she holds a spear in her right hand. It was published in a Cordier and Ekstrom catalogue of an exhibition at the gallery January 4 to February 10, 1973. It has a very modest estimate of $7,000 to $10,000. It sold for $6,600 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

Bamana female marionette

Lot 100, Bamana female marionette, wood, 29 1/2 inches high

Lot 100 is a fine Bamana female wood marionette that is 29 1/2 inches high. The lot was acquired from Henri Kamer, New York in 1961 and exhibited at the Museum of Primitve Art exhibition in 1961 entitled "To Private Collections: Gertrud A. Mellon and René d'Harancourt. It has a modest estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $16,800.

Songe power figure

Lot 125, power figure, Songe, 11 1/4 inches high

Lot 125 is a fine Songe power figure that is 11 1/4 inches highand is notable for its excellent patina and nicely carved feet. It has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. It sold for $39,000. It is one of numerous lots in the auction from the Raymond E. Britt Family Collection.

Another work from the same collection is Lot 140, a rare Lwalwa pair of male and female figures of which the tallest is 15 3/4 inches tall. The lot has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $60,000.

Sierre Leone figure

Lot 31, figure, Sierra Leone, probably Mende, 34 inches high

Lot 31 is a rare Sierra Leone, probably Mende figure that is property of a Belgian private collection. "The offered figure, wearing a military tunic and royal crown," the catalogue entry for this lot observed, "has obvious elements of European influence. In addition to the European elements, the snake and the crown are distinct symbols seen in other Mende works of Art. When the English came to Sierra Leone in 1885 to declare it a Protectorate, and subsequently bring its colonial rule to an end, Queen Victoria's Paramount Chiefs were given replicas of her crown to acknowledge Britian's presence. These crowns became symbols of independence and were considered, for a long time, prestige objects of the highest rank." This lot has an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It sold for $27,000.

The auction has three Mumuye figures that were formerly in the Harry A. Franklin Family Collection in Beverly Hills, Lots 65, 66, 67. Lot 65 has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000 and Lots 66 and 67 each have estimates of $5,000 to $7,000. A fourth and smaller Mumuye figure, Lot 69, has an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000. Lot 65 sold for $14,400. Lot 66 was passed at $4,250. Lot 67 sold for $6,600. Lot 69 sold for $11,400.

Lot 87 is an impressive Wurkun figure that is 48 inches high and has a modest estimate of $6,000 to $9,000. It passed at $4,750.

Lot 116 is a rare and important female power figure from Kongo, Sundi that is 37 inches high and was formerly in the collections of Patrick Henry Bruce, the painter, and Governor Nelsonrockefeller. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $400,000. It was passed at $220,000.

The cover illustration of the catalogue is Lot 104, a superb Guro mask that is 17 inches high and belongs to the corpus of works by the "Master of Baufle," named for the town of his atelier in the southeastern region of the Ivory Coast. The mask has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It sold for $84,000.

Lotr 136 is a fine Luba stool that is 17 3/4 inches high and has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for $25,200.

Lot 18 is a rare and important Fiji Islands neckrest that is 12 1/4 inches long and has an estimate of $70,000 to $100,000. It sold for $102,000.

 

See The City Review article on the Spring 2005 African & Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2004 African & Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2004 African & Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 Tribal Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Tribal Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2002 Tribal Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Tribal Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2001 African & Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2000 African and Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1999 African and Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1999 African and Oceanic Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1998 Sotheby's African and Oceanic Art auction

See The City Review article on the Spring 1998 Sotheby's African and Oceanic Art auction

See The City Review article on the Spring, 2000 Pre-Columbian Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1999 auction of Pre-Columbian Art at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the November 1998 Pre-Columbian auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1997 American Indian Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1998 American Indian art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 1999 American Indian Art auction at Sotheby's

 

 

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