area largely ignored
by other collectors and museums at
the time that they purchased the
works. An example from this region is A Superb and Rare Luguru
Throne (est. $40/60,000, pictured above right), from Tanzania.
Another varied offering of 32
works is designated as African
Treasures from the Bohlen
Collection, highlighted by A
Baule Male Figure,
attributed to one of the
Masters of Sakassou (est.
$60/90,000, pictured at left).
A Superb Nomoli Stone
Figure, Guinea Bissau, 1500 A.D. or earlier, (est. $12/18,000) will also
be offered from the Bohlen Collection.
From a Private Collection, Sotheby’s will offer a Punu Mask (est.
$60/90,000, pictured at right). This lost treasure was published in 1915
in a seminal book entitled Negerplastik by Carl Einstein, which had great influence on artists of the 20th century who
bought the book and studied its objects. A number of sketches and drawings of the African objects from
Negerplastik have been found in the notebooks of important artists of the time. The location of this Punu Mask has
been unknown for more than 60 years, and Sotheby’s is proud to offer this rediscovered treasure in its May sale.
The Oceanic offerings include an Archaic Solomon Island Canoe Prow
Ornament (est. $40/60,000, pictured at left), measuring 6 ½ inches high,
acquired by the present owner in the 1960s from Werner Gillon. Another
exceptional highlight from this region is a Marshall Islands Pounder,
made from the shell of a Tridacna Gigas (giant clam), (est. $20/30,000).
Only a handful of these extremely rare pounders, whose delicate shapes
mirror the curves of Constantin Brancusi’s Bird in Space, are known to exist.
Sotheby’s will offer approximately 30 Pre-Columbian objects, a highlight
being a Large Olmec Jade Mask, ca. 500-300 BC, (est.$500/700,000), a
dramatic portrayal of an idealized portrait with large pierced eyes, which was exhibited at the Paris Biennale of 1988.
A Maya Mosaic Jade Belt Mask, ca. 600 AD (est. $150/250,000) was exhibited at Princeton University Art
Museum in the 1997 exhibition In Celebration, Works of Art from the Collections of Princeton Alumni. This work was an
important piece of elite ceremonial regalia, which served to reinforce a Maya’s social position and political power.
Two additional Maya objects from The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Georges DeMenil will be offered (est. $8/15,000 each).
Many of the Pre-Columbian offerings are related to collections in the African section of the sale; for example, from
The Dinhofer Collection comes a Tiwanaku Wood Beaker, ca. AD 500-1000 (est. $35/45,000) which was exhibited in
1969 at the Andre Emmerich gallery and is from Peru or Bolivia. This work depicts a carved mythological face of a
key deity and is distinguished by its fierce snarling expression. Also being offered in the Pre-Columbian section of
the sale is a lovely group of Chinesco figures from The Marilyn and Bruce Throckmorten Collection in California, which
range in estimate from $8,000 to $30,000.