Tribal art, modern art and design at Native

Brussels, 19 January 2020

For its first auction of the year, the Brussels auction house Native is offering, on 25 January, starting at 7 p.m., a selection of 97 primitive art, modern art and 20th-century design objects or groups of objecs, all in all a heterogeneous selection.

Among the pieces of tribal art on sale is a spectacular 38-centimetre high wooden mask from Songye (DRC), estimated by experts between 150,000 and 250,000 euros. “This mask represents a beautiful synthesis of the greatest artistic expressions of Central Africa: the sensual beauty of the Luba and the fascinating strength of the Songye, two tribes linked by common ancestors,” explains Nicolas Paszukiewicz and Sébastien Hauwaert, Native’s two executives who opened their auction house in 2011 in Brussels’ Sablon after working for German auction house Lempertz. “The combination of the two styles is typical of the border area between the two tribes.” This mask (lot 37), probably collected by a Belgian settler in the 1920s, belonged to Liège collector Paul Gilman, then to Brussels gallerist Pierre Dartevelle in the 1980s, before being acquired by the Düsseldorf-based African and modern art dealer Henricus Simonis. The latter presented it in 1996 as part of an exhibition organised by the Heimeshoff Gallery in the former industrial complex of Zollverein in Essen. This emblematic object then passed through the Didier Claes Gallery in Brussels and is now part of an important private collection in Belgium.

Lot 37: Songye Kifwebe Mask, DRC, Height: 38 cm, Estimate: 150 000 - 250 000 €

A 69-centimetre high wooden Hemba-Kusu statuette (lot 34), to be compared with two similar ancestor figures held by the musée du Quai Branly and the Met, is also one of the major pieces in this auction. Estimated at between 80,000 and 120,000 euros, it passed through Adrian Schlag hands, before joining a private collection. “We recognise in this sculpture from the northern region of Hemba, neighbouring the Basikasingo region, the distinctive, noble and solemn features of the Singitis, the primordial ancestors of the Hemba, as well as its naturalistic style, combined with the abstraction found in the Basikasingo figures,” say those responsible for Native.

Lot 34: Hemba Kusu Figure, DRC, Height: 69 cm, Estimate: 80 000 - 120 000 €

Several Luba and Lega figures and objects, characteristic of the art of these Congolese ethnic groups, are likely to interest collectors, such as this 21-centimetre ivory Iginga figurine (lot 66), estimated between 40,000 and 60,000 euros and from an American collection begun at the beginning of the 20th century, or this rare 21-centimetre Idimu mask, made of wood, kaolin and fibres, from the former colonial collection of Belgium and within the same estimate range.

Lot 29: Dinga Mask, DRC, Height: 29 cm, Estimate: 20 000 - 30 000 €

In the modern art section, the promoters of the auction draw the attention of collectors to a drawing by Jean Delville (1867-1953, lot 7, estimated at between 10,000 and 12.000 euros), based on a monumental painting for the Brussels courthouse, as well as on an unknown relief by Pol Bury (1922-2005, lot 31, estimated between 40,000 and 60,000 euros) “which could have been executed by four hands”, Bury’s two and those of a certain Victor Vasarely (1906-1997). Works by Walter Blanc, Henri Michaux, Man Ray, Kim En Joong and even Jeff Koons are also part of the catalogue. Among the 20th-century design objects offered for auction are a jade powder bottle by René Lalique from the early 1900s (lot 6, between 6,000 and 8,000 euros), a prototype of a table by the minimalist Maarten Van Severen from 1993 (lot 89, between 12,000 and 15,000 euros) and a table lamp from the 1950s by Max Ingrand (lot 48, between 4,000 and 6,000 euros).

All the lots will be on display from 21 to 24 January from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on 25 January from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Native, 5 rue Ruysbroeck, Brussels. For more details: