African and Oceanic Arts: 115 works at auction at Bonhams

New York, 8 May 2019

Lot 78: Dogon Tellem Couple, Mali

No less than 115 works of African and Oceanic art will be on display at the Bonhams auction in New York on May 13, starting at 5pm.

“This careful and rigorous selection comes from several private American collections, but also from Europe and the Pacific region,” says Fred Backlar, US-based primitive arts specialist and consultant for the British auction house.

Among several major pieces presented in the African art selection, a reliquary figure from Kota-Ndassa, established in eastern Gabon, is of particular interest. 51 centimetres high, this statuette was originally obtained by a school for pastors and teachers in Kimpese, Congo, and has been written about as early as 1940. The lot (#99) is estimated at between $250,000 and $350,000.

A pair of Dogon or Tellem statuettes (lot 78), originating from Mali and dating from the 19th century or earlier and exhibited by Philippe Guimiot in Brussels in 1994, shares the same high estimate. A magnificent maternity Bangwa figure, from Cameroon (lot #97), initially collected by Baron Freddy Rolin before being acquired by a major collector in San Francisco, is estimated between $180,000 and $220,000.

Lot 99 : Reliquary Figure \*mbulu-ngulu\* Kota Ndassa, Gabon, Height: 51,4 cm, estim.: US$ 250,000 - 350,000

“Among the most significant pieces of Oceanic art is an exceptional Maori anthropomorphic pendant, dating from 1600 to 1850, which was originally part of Sir Jacob Epstein’s collection,” states Fred Backlar. This piece, estimated at between $120,000 and $160,000, is made of Inanga pounamu, the most sought-after and rare type of nephrite jade, light green and pearly white. »

Lot 57 : Maori Pendant \*hei tiki\*, New Zealand, Height: 14,8 cm, estim.: US$ 120,000 - 160,000