Carter B. Horsley
cover illustration of the
catalogue for the November 14, 2008 auction of African and Oceanic
Art from the collection of Robert and Jean Shoenberg is Lot 82,
a 58-inch-high wood sculpture of a standing female holding a flying
fish and another fish whose tail joins the head of the larger
fish biting the lower jaw of the figure. A snake or a fish emanates
from the figure's sex and is joined to the feet and a large shark
on the figure's back is joined to a long slender fish projecting
above the head. The head is surmounted by a hermit crab with spiral
shell. The catalogue notes that this figure is "very similar
to, and it is tempting to think it might be the pair to a male
figure in the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum fur Volkerkunde in Cologne.
The lot has a modest estimate of $50,000 to $80,000. It sold
for $206,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned
in this article.
the 82 lots offered for
sale in this auction, 65 sold for $1,070,875.
Teuten, Christie's specialist
in this department, said after the auction that "In a selective
market, the finest items in this collection attracted very strong
competition notably from European buyers indicating the continuing
strength of the market for fine and rare works."
Lot 28 is a "fine" Bete mask
the Ivory Coast that is 12 1/4 inches high. It has an estimate
of $30,000 to $50,000. It failed to sell.
The catalogue entry for his lot
"Bete and Nyabwa masks with
are characterized by a geometric rendering of shapes that amounts
to stylization. Here this includes the hypertrophy of the nostrils
and the reduction to the level of a visor of the horizontal tusks,
which are extremely flattened, their ends attached to the extended
forehead above the eyes. This mask is large and very heavy, like
We masks. Its inner surface is deeply hollowed and has two openings
that permit the wearer a limited field of vision. Leaning on a
high staff, the mask wearer is guided by the voice of his attendants.
The main attendant carries a lance, a symbol of the mask's original
role. And sometimes the mask wearer himself carries a lance."
Lot 42 is a fine Fang male
that is 15 1/4 inches high that is standing an holding a rectangular
object against the abdomen. The coiffure is in three incised ridges
sweeping backwards and the spine has nine vertical grooves. It
has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $338,500.
It was once in the collection of Julius Carlebach.
Lot 60 is a fine Lega ivory
figure that is
6 1/2 inches high. It has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It
sold for $10,000.
Lot 61 is a "fine" Lega ivory
from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is 8 inches high and
was once in the collection of Julius Carlebach. It has an estimate
of $30,000 to $40,000. It sold for $22,500.
Lot 73 is a "fine" Papuan Gulf
37 1/2 inches high, from the Wapo Creek or Era River area of New
Guinea. It has a modest estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It
for $52,500. It was once in the collection of Julius
Lot 68 is a nice carved wood
Asmat panel from
Irian Jaya, New Guinea. It is 40 1/2 inches long. It has an modest
estimate of $1,000 to $1,500. It did not sell.
Lot 6 is a striking Senufo mask
white panels. It was once in the collection of Julius Carlebach.
It has an estimate of $2,000 to $3,000. It sold for $2,750.
Lot 16 is a "fine" Bambara
headdress that is 12 3/4 inches high and was once in the collection
of Julius Carlebach of New York. It is carved as an aardvark surmounted
by a stylized armadillo. It has a modest estimate of $8,000 to
$12,000. It sold for $23,750.
Lot 21 is an imposing Dogon
mask that is 17
inches high and was once in the collection of the Lemaire Gallery
in Amsterdam. It has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It
failed to sell.
Lot 56 isa "fine" wooden Kuba
from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is 10 1/8 inches high
and was once in the collection of Julius Carlebach of New York.
It has a modest estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for
Lot 78 is a very handsome canoe
Sepik, New Guinea. Itis64 1/4 inches high. The large palm spath
panel has a central wood spine and a mask i high relief terminating
in a bird's head at the top. It has a modest estimate of $2,000
to $3,000. It failed to sell.