The Collection of Edwin & Cherie Silver
One of the Great American Collections of Non-Western Art Remaining in Private Hands
NEW YORK, 22 June 2017 – Sotheby’s is privileged to announce that the Collection of Edwin & Cherie Silver, Los Angeles, will be offered in a single-owner auction of African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and American Indian Art during the height of the New York auction season in November. The dedicated auction is led by a magnificent selection of important Kota Reliquary Figures from Gabon – icons of African art. Assembled during the golden age of American post-war collecting in these categories, the group is a time capsule of the caliber of artwork that was available to collectors decades ago, but is very rarely found in the market today. The collection comprises more than 100 works and has an estimated total value in excess of $10 million.
In addition to the famed group of Kota Reliquary Figures, the collection includes a major group of Pre-Columbian terracottas from Ancient West Mexico, acquired in the early years of Edwin and Cherie’s collecting; a monumental seven-headed Ijo Forest Spirit Figure from Nigeria, which has been shown at LACMA and extensively published; a large and highly refined Hemba Ancestor Figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; important jewels of small-scale Yombe statuary, also from the Congo; an assortment of fine West African masks; and American Indian sculpture and baskets.
Selected highlights from the collection will travel to Sotheby’s Paris in September to be shown during the Parcours des Mondes fair, and then back to the Silvers’ hometown of Los Angeles for an exhibition at Sotheby’s headquarters there in October. The collection in its entirety will then be exhibited at Sotheby’s New York alongside the marquee autumn auctions of Impressionist & Modern Art and Contemporary Art, in a celebration of the historical connections and aesthetic affinities these art forms share.
Jean Fritts, Worldwide Chairman of African & Oceanic Art, said “Ed and Cherie Silver possessed a rare sophistication as collectors. Diligent, scholarly, and determined in their approach, they amassed one of the great American collections of African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and American Indian Art over the course of 50 years. Acquiring from the best sources in America and in Europe, they absorbed the stories behind each artwork and developed a distinctive vision. It was always a great pleasure to visit Ed and Cherie in their elegant modernist home in the hills above Los Angeles. We are delighted that the family has chosen Sotheby’s to present the Silvers’ vision to the world.”
Alexander Grogan, Head of the African & Oceanic Art Department in New York, commented: “We are thrilled and honored to present the pioneering collection of Edwin and Cherie Silver, truly one of great American collections in the genre. The Silvers began their odyssey as collectors with Pre-Columbian Art, assembling an extraordinary group of terracotta couples from ancient Mesoamerica. Many of the African works in the collection are well-known to lovers of African Art, as the Silvers generously lent them to prominent museum exhibitions and kindly facilitated their publication in the scholarly literature. The striking silhouettes and abstract geometry of the famous Kota Reliquary Figures from Gabon were a sight to behold in the Silvers’ living room. The sale of the Silver Collection will provide rare opportunities for today’s collectors and Sotheby’s is delighted to celebrate their unique and sophisticated taste this fall.”
Further details regarding the collection and sales, including public exhibition dates, will be shared in September.