Detail of Lot
entry notes that "the European colonial headgear identifies the suject
as a distinguished individual, whose age and wisdom are indicated by
the beard....The animated arms and legs are extravagantly outstretched,
so that they extend horizontally from the narrow vertical torso and
terminate in dramatically exaggerated hands and feet. These
elements are wrapped in two different varieties of
European patterned trade cloths...Red tones were preferred for
ceremonial dress, given their idenfication of vitality. This
quality was complemented by the expansiveness of the figure's stance
and the suppleness of the body."
49, Songye power figure, DemocraticRepublic of the Congo, 8 1/4 inches
One of the
auction's more unusual works is Lot 49, a small Songye power figure
from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is 8 1/4 inches
high and has been widely exhibited and published. Much of the
figure is covered with copper nails. It has an estimate of
$150,000 to $250,000. It
sold for $2,098,500, a record for a Songye work at auction!
Lot 37, Yombe
maternity group, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 11 inches high
Lot 37 is a
finely carved Yombe maternity group from the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. It is 11 inches high. It has an estimate of
$150,000 to $250,000. It
sold for $1,874,500, a record for a Yombe work at auction.
Lot 25, Baule
male statue, Ivory Coast, 24 inches high
illustration of this auction's catalogue is Lot 25, a Baule male statue
from the Ivory Coast. It is 24 inches high and is notable for
its long three-part beard and fine carving. The catalogue
entry describes it "of monumental scale and one of the most refined
Baule sculptures known," adding that "a tour de force with majestic
presence, it gives testimony to the highest level of Baule artistry."
Lot 19, Mano
male and female couple, Liberia, height of female 18 1/2 inches
"The upstanding composed posture, strong calves, beautiful triparted
beard and coiffure, symmetrical scarification patterns and the serene
facial expression incarnate a physical and moral ideal within
Baule society....A distinctive feature of the Rubin Statue is the
individual carving and insertion of wooden nipples. This
feature is not known from any other Baule figure."
The lot has an estimate of $600,000 to $900,000. It sold for $1,538,500, a record for a Baule statue at auction.
Lot 19 is a
fine Mano standing couple from Liberia. The female figure is
18 1/2 inches high. "The white and red clay on the figures is
usually associated with the spirit world, and specifically with
divination. The strong geometricised carving is commonly
found among the Mano rather than their eastern neighbors, the Dan.
The angular faces are similar to many Mano miniature masks.
It seems plausible, therefore, to attribute these figures to
the Mano. The commanding presence of this pair is
striking precisely through the roughness and angularity of the forms
and makes this pair the most powerful pair of Mano figures known,"
according to the catalogue entry by William C. Siegelman. The
lot has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $662,500, an auction record for Mano works.
Lot 4, Seated
female figure, Senufo, Ivory Coast, 9 3/4 inches high, left; Lot 8,
Dogon heddle pulley, Mali, 9 3/4 inches high, right
One of the
most impressive works in the auction is Lot 4, a Senufo seated female
figure from the Ivory Coast. It is 9 3/4 inches tall but its
notable for the exaggerated shape of the head, the shoulders and the
breasts as well as the double pinched armlets. It was once in
the collection of René Rasmussen in Paris and Ben Heller in New York.
It has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,00. It sold for $812,500.
8 is a very fine Dogon heddle pulley from Mali.
It is 9 3/4 inches high and was once int he collection of
John J. Klejman of New York. It is notable for its
four-tiered head and the angularity of its arms and hands.
It has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000.
It sold for
Lot 9, Dogan
N'Duleri male ancestor figure, Master of the Slanted Eyes, Mali, circa
17th-18th Centurys with 1950s restorations, 28 1/2 inches high
Lot 9 is a
Dogan N'Duleri male ancestor figure by the Master of the Slanted
Eyes from Mali. The catalogue says it is
dated circa 17th-18th Centurys with 1950s restorations.
It is 28 1/2
inches high and was once in the collections of René Rasmussen of Paris
and Merton D. Simpson of New York. There are four accepted
works by the Master of the Slanted Eyes, according to the catalogue
entry and all are missing elements. The entry notes that his
figure was "missing its proper right arm below the shoulder ad its
poepr right leg below the hip as well as the navel" but is the only
figure from the group to remain intact on one continuous side from the
top of the head down to the angle. Thus only in the case of
the Rubin figure was it possible to reconstruct missing elements as
mirror images of the surviving parts without danger of misinterpreting
the original artistic concept. The reconstructed parts of the
Rubin figure are easily identifiable by comparison of the different
color tones of the wood and were not intended to be disguised."
It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $1,022,500, a record at auction for a Dogon work.
Beaked mask, Dan, Ivory Coast, 10 1/2 inches high, left; Lot 33, Pende
mask, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 10 3/4 inches high, right
35 and 36, Makonde stoppers, Tanzania, tallest 4 inches
adorable works in the auction at Lots 35 and 36, Makonde stoppers from
Tanzania. The former is 3 3/4 inches high and the latter is 4
inches high. The former has an estimate of $2,500 to $3,500. It sold for $92,500!
The latter has an estimate of $7,000 to $10,000. It sold for $206,500!!!
Lot 21 is a fine Dan beaked
mask from the Ivory Coast. It is 10 1/2 inches high
and once in the collection of René Rasmussen of Paris. It has
an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It
sold for $92,500.
Kuba-Kete mask, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 19 1/2 inches high
Lot 33 is a wonderful Pende mask from the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. It is 10 3/4 inches high and has been widely exhibited
and published. It has an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000.
It sold for
Lot 38 is an
interesting and very dramatic Kuba-Kete mask from the Democratic
Republic of the Congo. It is 19 1/2 inches high. It
has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 3, Bete
mask, Ivory Coast, 19 3/4 inches high
Lot 3 is a
very powerful and impressive Bete Mask from the Ivory Coast.
It is 19 3/4 inches high and very notable for the prominent
and large "handles" and "hooks" on the face in addition to the nose and
mouth. It has a modest estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. It sold for $25,000.
Lot 5, Bwa
buffalo mask, Burkina Faso, 27 1/2 inches high
Lot 5 is a
large and impressive Bwa buffalo mask from Burkina Faso. It
is 27 1/2 inches high and is notable for its large, open tubular mouth.
It has an estimate of $7,000 to $10,000. It sold for $4,375,
47, Hemba male ancestor figure, Nembo style, Democratic Republic of the
Congo, 27 3/4 inches high
Lot 47 is a
nice Hemba male ancestor figure, Nembo style, from the Democratic
Republic of the Congo. It is distinguished by the lovely
detailing on the back of her headdress. It is 27 3/4 inches
high. It has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for $512,500.