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World record for African figure seals a good year for African and Oceanic Art at Sotheby’s, Paris

Sotheby’s Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie sale in Paris on 11 December 2013 confirmed the saleroom’s position as the past year’s top venue for African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art. The €3.7 million ($5.1 million) yield lifted the Paris total for 2013 to €17.76 ($23.4 million).

The sale included pieces from the collection of Georges Miré (1890–1965)., which was assembled in Paris in the 1920s. When hen it was first sold at Drouot  in 1931 – the first collection of African art ever to be auctioned in the French capital – it was described by the American journal Art News in 1931 as ‘the most important aggregation of African sculpture in existence’.

Lot 23, a Fang Eyema Byeri reliquary guardian figure from Gabon, estimated at €500,000–700,000, sold for €1,441,500 ($1,990,553), a world record for a Fang sculpture. This masterpiece had been exhibited in Paris in 1955 in ‘Les Arts Africains’ at the Cercle Volney, and again at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in the 2008 exhibition ‘Eternal Ancestors: the Art of the Central African Reliquary’. Also selling above their estimates were: lot 21, another Gabonese reliquary figure, for €529,500; lot 34, a Baulé mask from the Ivory Coast (€169,500); and lot 67, an Ifugao figure from the Philippines (€181,500).

African and Oceanic Art

Fang reliquary guardian figure, Gabon
Height: 47.5cm (22″)
Sold at 1.441.500€

African and Oceanic Art

Ifuago figure, Northern Luzon Island, Philippines
Wood and Seashell
Height 69.5 cm (28″)



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