News-Antique.com - Apr 05,2007 - New York, New York – On May 17, 2007, Sotheby’s New York will hold its various-owners sale of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art, a historically rich offering including traditional and ceremonial works of art ranging from Nigerian and Central African to Mexican and Peruvian. Property from the sale will be on exhibition in
Sotheby’s 5th floor galleries from May 12th through the 16th, and the approximately 140 lots are expected to bring $3.8/5.7 million*. A separate press release is available for the sale of The Collection of Saul and Marsha Stanoff on May 17, 2007.
Highlighting Sotheby’s various-owners sale will be African and Pre-Columbian sculptures from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, including a Highly Important Benin Bronze Head of an Oba (est. $1/1.5 million, pictured on page 1), the most important Benin work to appear at auction for 30 years. This work features signature royal adornments and displays a hole on the top that was designed to receive and support a finely carved elephant’s tusk, a symbol of the wealth and power of the king of Benin’s lineage. The Albright-Knox oba head is one of the finest and oldest examples of its kind, dating to circa 1575-1625, the time period in which the best Benin metal castings were produced. Only a very few Benin sculptures of comparable importance have survived until the present day. The head was acquired in 1932 by the French dealer Louis Carré, with the assistance of Charles Ratton before the then-still Albright Art Gallery purchased it on December 31, 1935.
Also from the Albright-Knox collection is a Black Punu Mask ($400/600,000, pictured at left). This work is representative of a small number of rare black or brown-faced masks that resemble the better-known white funerary masks. This mask, previously in the collections of Bernard d’Hendecourt and Raphael Stora, both from Paris, was first published in 1917. In 1935, it was exhibited in The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in the seminal exhibition, African Negro Art, which was a catalyst for the appreciation of African Art in the United States, and most of the objects, including the mask from the Albright-Knox, have become icons of African art.
Also being featured is a Magnificent Soloman Island Canoe Prow Ornament (est. $125/175,000, pictured at right), formerly in the collection of the artist Adolf Hoffmeister, Prague, who acquired it in 1938 from Charles Ratton, Paris and a Papuan Gulf Province Female Figure (est. $100/150,000) formerly in the collection of the MASCO Corporation.
The Pre-Columbian section of the auction features 35 works from a French private collection, which is renowned for its group of Mezcala stone figures, 2
many of which were exhibited in Paris in 1992 and collected over the years with the guidance of expert Carlo Gay. The highlight of the collection is a Fine Teotihuacan Stone Mask, circa 450-650 AD (est. $400/600,000, pictured at right), the most important to be offered at Sotheby’s in a decade. This classic example of the idealized style of Teotihuacan, which