New York Auction
Art of Africa, Oceania & the Americas May 2017
NEW YORK, 3 May 2017 – Sotheby’s is pleased to announce our annual auction of Art of Africa, Oceania and the Americas in New York on 15 May 2017. The sale offers a diverse group of more than 120 works of art, carefully selected for their quality and provenance, with estimates ranging from $2,000 to $1.5 million, providing an exciting opportunity for new and established collectors alike. Sotheby’s is the only major auction house holding regular worldwide auctions in all of these categories, including the classical art of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific Islands, Pre-Columbian Art from Central and South America, and North American Indian Art. The pre-sale exhibition will open in our New York galleries on 5 May, alongside the marquee spring auctions of Impressionist & Modern Art and Contemporary Art in a celebration of the historical connections and aesthetic affinities these art forms share.
Alexander Grogan, Head of the African & Oceanic Art Department in New York, commented: “The May 2017 auction at Sotheby’s New York builds upon our long-standing commitment to the pre-modern art of cultures from around the world. We have been highly selective in composing the auction, favoring reasonably estimated, fresh to the market property from private collections and estates. Displayed alongside contemporary art in our renovated galleries, these works will appeal to established as well as to new collectors who have taken increasing interest in these fields in recent years. On offer will be great masterpieces and rare works of high quality at all ranges of value. The star of the sale is undoubtedly the ‘Chokwe Princess’, one of the finest African statues to come on to the market in recent memory.”
The sale is led an exceptionally refined and extraordinarily rare Chokwe Female Statue, Angola (estimate $1.5/2 million) formerly in the collection of René Buthaud, the most important ceramicist of the Art Deco period in France. Chokwe Sculpture is among the most celebrated styles of African Art and this figure is one of only a handful of classical examples depicting a female subject, which was of particular importance to the matrilineal Chokwe. The statue represents a young, fertile princess and exemplifies the Chokwe concept of utotombo, a passion for beauty and perfection equated with virtue, as well as the importance of female power. Other important African works include a Senufo Bird Figure, Côte d'Ivoire (estimate $70/100,000) and a Hemba Double Caryatid Stool, Democratic Republic of the Congo (estimate $100/150,000), and an Ekoi/Ejagham Janiform Headcrest, Nigeria (estimate $50/70,000) by the same hand as the celebrated example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE CHOKWE FIGURES ON SOTHEBYS.COM
The Oceanic section of the sale is led by a Female Statue, Lake Sentani, Papua, Indonesia (estimate $1/1.5 million). The remarkable sculptural style from the Lake Sentani region expresses a joyous simplicity, and captures the humanity of its subjects in a universally-appealing formal language. The aesthetic qualities of these artists' distinctive abstraction of the human form captured the attention of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, and examples from this very small corpus entered some of the most influential collections of the era. Also on offer is a Bungain Mask, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea (estimate $150/250,000) first recorded in 1929 in the collection of the Czech writer Joe Hloucha. Hloucha's wide-ranging collection, including the present work, was exhibited in a landmark show in Prague from November, 1929 - February, 1930, where it met with an enthusiastic reaction from the press and the public.
MESOAMERICAN MASTERS: A SELECTION OF PRE-COLUMBIAN ART FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Continuing Sotheby’s longstanding commitment to Pre-Columbian Art the sale will offer a selection of 12 sculptural masterworks from an Important European private collection. These works showcase the diversity of artwork from the great civilizations of Pre-Columbian Central and South America, ranging from elegantly carved goddesses to an iconic Sicán Gold Beaker. A highlight of the group is a beautifully carved Aztec Stone Figure of the Goddess Chicomecoatl, Postclassic (estimate $150/200,000) representing the goddess of ripe maize. Featuring a towering architectural headdress in the form of a temple, the Goddess exemplifies the restraint and grandeur of classic Aztec Art.
The auction will also include a selection of Pre-Colombian works from other private collections, including an intimate portrait of an ancient elite Maya Figure of a Lord, Jaina (estimate $125/175,000) and a Large Maya Effigy Vessel, Early Classic, 300 - 600 AD, (estimate $75/120,000) in the form of a turkey, a symbol of great abundance and prestige which was believed to have purification powers, and was used during hallucinogenic ceremonies.
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