The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Lille, 28 January 2014
Dedicated to tribal art, Lille’s “Primitive” Art Gallery is to open on 30 January, on the city’s rue Royale.
The space is the result of a collaboration between Emmanuel Provost, François Hacker – both collectors of contemporary and tribal art – and Jean-Christopher Zongo, an expert in African art.
The 120m2 space is to specalise in objects from West and Central Africa, sourced from private collections. Featured objects are to include masks, statues, and everyday items, with featured regions including Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Liberia, Cameroon, the Côte d’Ivoire, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Paris, 17 January 2014,
The Parisian Musée du quai Branly, dedicated to the arts and civilisations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas, has announced its receipt of a record number of donations in 2013.
Works donated to the institution include: 2,950 watercolours, drawings, studies and other documents by the artist Paul Jacoulet; a work by Aboriginal artist Lena Nyadbi; a rare sculpture from New Ireland (Papua New Guinea), as well as an exceptional Dogon piece. The museum’s collection has increased by 2,994 works in total – an expansion which includes the addition of 268 photos, with a combined value of €5,175,093. Donations have supplemented the museum’s 2013 acquisitions budget of €1,134,986.
The Musée du quai Branly is home to a collection of 300,000 works and objects from Africa (89,000), Asia (72,000), Oceania (33,000) and the Americas (106,000), of which 3,400 are exhibited in its “plateau de collections” room. The museum’s valuables also include two other important collections – [.../...]See more
Detroit, 16 January 2014,
A conclusion seems to have been reached to be able to save the Detroit Institute of Art’s works, which was set to be a victim of the American city’s bankruptcy. Nine national and local foundations have joined together to bail the city out of its staggering debt figure of $330 million.
The heads of the various foundations met with Gerald Rosen, district judge who has been charged with the city’s media attention since it was declared bankrupt. During three and a half hours of discussions, a new solution had emerged: the foundations’ contribution to bail the city out of its deficit.
On Monday, Rosen announced that nine foundations had pledged to float $330m, in order to prevent the Detroit Institute of Art from losing its collection. The news is crucial for several reasons: it is a turning point in an affair that has been ongoing for several months. It is also the first time that a coalition of this type has been formed to achieve such a result.
Phnom Penh, 17 December 2013
After a two-year-long legal battle, Sotheby’s capitulated last week and decided to return an ancient statue to Cambodia.
The fierce controversy surrounding the Duryodhana, a 10th century Khmer statue, has come to an end. Belonging to a Belgian collector, who acquired the piece in 1975, and valued between $2 and 3 million, the statue of the Khmer warrior was withdrawn last-minute by Sotheby’s from a sale in late February 2011, after protests were made by the Cambodian government, with the support of the United States and UNESCO.
A number of indications point to the fact that the statue was stolen in the early 1970s, from the Prasat Chen temple in Koh Ker, during a time when Cambodia was in the middle of civil war.
Sotheby’s New York was suspected of having attempted, in early 2011, to sell a knowingly-stolen statue, taken from the Hindu temple in Cambodia several decades ago. The auction house has agreed to remove the object from the auction, but has kept the item, challenging the [.../...]See more
Washington, D.C., 29 November 2013
The Sultanate of Oman has donated $1.8 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, the largest donation received by the museum to date.
The donation is to support an series of events at the museum celebrating Omani and East African culture, entitled ”Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa”. The programme is to showcase Omani arts and the country’s connection with the cultures of the Middle East and East Africa.
Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al-Mughairy, Omani ambassador to the U.S., stated: “This is a monumental partnership that we are very proud of. We’re looking forward to working with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art to bring a greater global awareness of the connections and history between Oman and East Africa.”
The events are to include an educational arts exchange programme; a lecture series from Omani artists and scholars; public workshops; and newly-commissioned dance and music performances.
Brussels, 4 November 2013
Brussel’s Africa museum is to close its doors on 30 November 2013, and plans to re-open in mid-2017, with the world’s “last” colonial museum hoping to establish a new image.
Located in the Brussels suburb of Tervuren, The Museum for Central Africa (RMCA), is to use the time that it is closed to alter the image of the museum, which is housed in a castle, built in the early 20th century by King Léopold II. “This museum shows how the white man saw Africa a century ago, at a time of triumphant colonisation”, commented Joseph Djongakodi Yoto, who heads a committee of Africa diaspora groups, innvolved in the museum’s renovation.
The names of 1,500 Belgians who died in the Congo are inscribed on a large plaque; Yoto highlighted the absence of Congolese names on the – “not even those who died fighting for Belgium during the two world wars”.
“It is easy to understand why we are considered as the last colonial museum”, explained Guido Gryseels, director of the MRAC: “Very little has changed since its opening in [.../...]See more
Los Angeles, 29 October 2013
The Fowler Museum at UCLA in Los Angeles has received a collection of African Art valued at fourteen million dollars.
Collectors Jay and Deborah Last, originally from Beverly Hills in California, donated the collection to the Fowler Museum to mark the museum’s fiftieth birthday. The couple’s collection comprises 92 works, including wooden and ivory figures, as well as masks, tools, and spoons created by the Lega people of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The entire collection is to constitute the last part of the 318 pieces that were promised to the museum by the collectors.
The museum’s director, Marla C. Berns, has confirmed that “Jay and Deborah Last have generously donated more than 660 works of art to the Fowler Museum since 1973 [...] they can be counted among the museum’s most loyal patrons.”
Guernsey, 25 October 2013
The Guernsey Museum has announced the return to New Zealand of the mummified head of a Maori warrior. The repatriation took place during a ceremony which was held on 21 October at Castle Cornet. According to the director of the Guernsey Museum, Dr Jason Monaghan, the head of the warrior chief is entirely covered in tattoos, which is a sign of his importance. The delegation from New Zealand, which consisted of Maori representatives and members of the New Zealand government and the National Museum of New Zealand, is heading next to the United Kingdom and Ireland in order to recover other relics of human remains.
Maori heads, which have been spread across the world, have been the object of a political drive for repatriation by the New Zealand authorities. As such, France has passed a law authorising the decommission of the 21 heads in its national collection, with the aim of returning them to New Zealand.
Paris, 10 September 2013
Tribal Art has witnessed a long and complex evolution, with European art history oscillating wildly in its attitude to the genre. Once referred to pejoratively as ‘primitive art’, tribal art has since been recognised for the important influence it had on the works of Expressionist, Surrealist and Cubist artists. Now, the field is recognised as rich and diverse, with museums, galleries and collectors across the globe placing an important focus on the works of indigenous peoples from Africa, North America and Oceania. Artkhade with Art Media Agency examined the platforms which are specialising in the genre today, looking at the presence of Tribal Art in Galleries, Museums, at auction houses and in dealerships.
A Slow Rise to Success
‘Primitive art’ is now recognised as a dismissive term, connoting an outdated Euro-centric attitude which coincided with the height of imperialism, colonialism, and the exploitation of countries by the West. The title connoted the belief that [.../...]See more
Nouméa, 7 August 2013
Jean-Marc Ayrault is to restore Atai’s skull to New Caledonia, according to an article published in Journal des Arts. The decision was announced during the French Priminster’s recent 3-day visit to New Caledonia. The skull is a symbol of the Kanak Revolution of 1878, during which Atai was decpatitated by French colonisers. The skulls was then taken to Paris, where it was exhibited in Trocadero’s ‘Musée d’Ethnographie’, before joining the collections at the Musée de l’Homme.
Thought to have been stolen until 2011, the skull was rediscovered- at which point it was reclaimed by Atai représentatives. Commenting on the matter, Jean-Marc Ayrault stated “The position of the state is clear: yes this relic should be returned to New Caledonia, and it will be returned”. The promise comes 25 years after the Matignon agreements, with the restitution expected to take place in September 2014.
The event recalls a prior case which took place in France in 2011, regarding the restitution of a skull [.../...]See more