The Auctions Database of Ancient Arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Paris, 15 September 2017
They’re the ones who murmur into the ears of collectors. Gallerists play a crucial role in the tribal-art economy. For this special issue, a number of them, each with their own specialities, have agreed to share their feelings on the sector. Confidences.
At auctions, the eclectic nature of the tribal-art market indicates sure growth in the long term, both in terms of the number of lots placed on sale and their proceeds, even if the last three years have seen heavy fluctuations, if not a slight decline. However, by overshadowing the reality of the world of dealers, auction results are only a partial indicator of the health of a sector characterised by deep restructuring. Between a generational shift among collectors, sourcing difficulties, and a complex balance between auction houses and dealers, what does the future hold?
Collectors: a new generation takes the reins? In the eyes of Alain Lecomte from the gallery Abla & Alain Lecomte, specialised in ancient African arts, there’s no doubt about it: the sector is in for a shakeup: “The [.../...]See more
Paris, 4 September 2017
Stratospheric-level auctions, overheated prices… The market for archaeological and tribal pieces is booming! We retrace the phenomenon of star status for these highly coveted objects. An issue that we examine by seeing what dealers, collectors and members of the scientific community have to say…
Ever since the start of the 2000s, the tribal-art market has literally exploded, with its turnover jumping up from €13.7 million in 2001 to €92.1 in 2014. Despite this strong growth, tribal art remains a marginal market, which represents only 0.68 % of the global turnover of art auction sales, in other words, 40 times less than the proportion occupied by modern art, according to a report published by Artkhade and Art Analytics in December 2015.
Largely in front, Africa and Oceania leave other geographical zones behind in the shadows. Between 2000 and 2014, these two continents represented 64.8 % of lots offered at auctions and 81 % of the sector’s total sales proceeds. Above all, the market’s growth has been accompanied by a [.../...]See more
Paris, 3 September 2017
To celebrate the 40th birthday of the Musée Barbier-Mueller, the Biennale Paris is welcoming a selection of 130 works from this Swiss family’s personal collections. An opportunity to retrace a passion and a saga.
For the Barbier-Muellers, collecting is part of the family history… It started off with the grandfather, Josef Mueller, then continued with the mother, Monique, the father, Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, and today the three sons, Gabriel, Stéphane, Thierry, as well as Diane, one of the granddaughters. Four generations of collectors that the Biennale Paris has chosen to honour through a selection of works from their collection, some of which have never been unveiled to the public. “The idea was to set up a dialogue between major pieces from four generations of collectors with very different tastes by recreating the atmosphere of Josef Mueller’s apartment, where modern paintings stood alongside primitive-art objects,” is the way that Laurence Mattet, director of the Musée Barbier-Mueller in Geneva, puts it. Sculptures and [.../...]See more
London, 27 August 2016
Bryan Reeves has stood for a certain vision of tribal art and culture ever since he launched the Tribal Perspectives fair in 2007. Since then, the event has grown, changed its name and venue by moving into The Mall Galleries to become Tribal Art London. At the start of September, Art Media Agency with Artkhade went to London, winding through the fair’s alleys, to meet Bryan Reeves.
B. R.: I like introducing Tribal Art London as a cultural fair. Our exhibitors cover all fields of tribal art around the globe, and we have a well-developed conference programme, offering debates in fields as wide as culture or ethnography — the aim being to increase understanding of tribal art without contenting ourselves with merely being a strictly commercial fair. Today, the fair is heading to its ninth birthday. When we started, we were no more than a small exhibition with three dealers — “Tribal Perspectives”. We gradually developed the fair, then moved to a fantastic spot, [.../...]See more
Berlin, 8 April 2016
On 8 March 2016, the online sales platform Auctionata announced a Gross Merchandise Value of $90 million (€81 million) in 2015, in other words a 165 % leap marking its strengthened leadership in the online auction sector. The company envisages developing new sales formats and increasing broadcasting times for its auctions in 2016.
Auctionata, set up in Berlin in 2012, is based in Berlin, New York and London. The bulk of its turnover comes from Berlin (80%) while New York and London represent 20 % — the house is however strengthening its position in the United States. It ran 249 auctions in 2015. Its progress is attributed to the launch of new processes, allowing sales to be held from two or three different locations. Auctionata holds the online sale record for a 17th century porcelain vase sold for €875,000 ($951,000).
According to Alexander Zacke, chairman and founder of Auctionata: “With 200,000 customers from 199 countries and several distinct yet complementary livestream formats, [.../...]See more
Since the market crash in 2008, the term “bubble”, applied in an economic context, has become part of everyday vocabulary. The analogy of a market growing so big, like a bubble, filled with air only waiting to burst, is almost irresistibly charming. Economic bubbles happen all the time, all over the world.
The most discussed possible bubble in recent years has been the art market. Critics, ranging from economists, journalists to opinionated folk, claim that the art market is a bubble and that when it bursts, it will be ugly. Maybe this talk started exactly the same day the biggest bubble in almost a century started bursting: 15 September 2008. On this day, one of the biggest Wall Street firms, Lehmann Brothers, went bankrupt, signalling the real depth of the crisis the world was about to face. On the other side of the Atlantic, Sotheby’s held a one-man auction, with works from Damien Hirst only commissioned directly from the artist, raising £111 million. This is an almost unbelievable coincidence: one of the most controversial artists [.../...]See more
Paris, 30 November 2015
Surveying the tribal art market from 2000 to 2015, a recently released Artkhade and Art Analytics report revealed exceptionally positive results for the category, documenting a growing trend towards multi-million-dollar auction sales and the increasing domination of the market by high-end works.
The study amassed a wide range of data to document tribal art’s growth as a sale category—though it still lags far behind the dominant Modern, Post-War, and Contemporary art segments of the market. Here, we have selected seven key figures from the report’s pages to explore what they tell us about the future of this “niche” market.
The tribal art market witnessed record sales in 2014, achieving €92.1 million from works sold at auction. Demonstrating the upward trajectory of the market, this result well surpassed the €52.8 million sold just one year previous, in 2013, never mind the €13.7 million of tribal art sold in 2001.
The year 2006 stands out [.../...]See more
Paris, 8 June 2015
The Rubin Museum of Art has announced the appointment of Risha Lee as curator of exhibitions from 1 July 2015.
Currently the assistant curator of South and Southeast Asian art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Lee is known for her research on the confluence of politics and art on the South Asian region. In her new role, Lee will lead a multifaceted creative team to develop a forthcoming series of exhibitions, as well as collaborating with the curatorial staff at the Rubin for other exhibition projects. Rubin Museum’s Executive Director, Patrick Sears said of Lee’s appointment: “Risha’s energy, expertise, and leadership will help shape the exhibition program at the Rubin, connecting new audiences to the Himalayan region—and beyond, including India and China […] Her extensive research on the cross-cultural exchange of art, people, and ideas integrates well with our mission, and we’re thrilled she is joining our team.”
During her two years at the MIA, Lee worked on several [.../...]See more
Beijing, 26 October 2014
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2 to 5% of global GDP is laundered money; in currency, $800 million to $2 trillion. The art market, notoriously opaque and uncontrollable, is one in which a staggering amount of this criminal activity takes place, where ‘dirty’ money obtained from illegal activity is laundered into legal tender. Worldwide cases of money laundering and illegal activity conducted through the purchase and sale of artwork are far from uncommon, with cases involving high profile figures such as Edemar Cid Ferreira, the Brazilian ex-banker who laundered millions of dollars through a collection of 12,000 works, and art dealer Helly Nahmad, who was caught on tape arranging the price increase of a Raoul Dufy painting he was selling, and explaining his plans to split the profit with another member of his gambling ring.
However, the phenomenon is particularly rife in the Asian art market, with one auctioneer estimating that 30%-50% of works in the market are related to the [.../...]See more
Paris, 17 April 2014,
In art, a quantitative approach is often given bad press. Those who pursue analyses based on value are often accused of relegating the importance of art works themselves – reducing them to mere financial assets. A number of dealers pretend to ignore the industry’s financial side, placing a stronger emphasis on the aesthetic or emotional aspect of their work. The reality of the market, however, means that financial considerations remain – and are increasingly – a vital component of the art world.
Art has often sought to avoid an association with finance and has, in part, succeeded. A work of art – even one considered to have little financial worth – is capable of attaining a very personal value which a treasury bond will never reach. Yet, in the context of an increasingly liquid market affected by ongoing inflation, information is key; thus, the importance of accurate data sources becomes increasingly important.
In the 1990s, a number of data specialists used the development of the [.../...]See more