Quittenbaum’s results

Antelope. Mali. Wood, horn, brass. Lot sold for €13 000. Quittenbaum. Tribal Art − Two Private Collections. Munich, September 2

Munich – On September 2, the Quittenbaum German auction house held the large sales of African art. It should seem that the unique collection of the auction which represented exhibits from two private collections would draw attention of collectors. It was predicted by the stable demand in the given sector of the antiquarian market, and the results of the previous auctions. However, contrary to expectations the results of the auctions are a total failure.

Quittenbaum managed to sell less than third of the collection comprising 162 objects. At the same time almost any top lot was sold. Those works purchased nevertheless were sold by auction for undercharge.

Among the sold works is a sculpture of head of the African soldier, created by the masters of one of Cameroon’s tribes in the 19th century. The sculpture was estimated at €25 000 and sold by auction for only €18 000. The same situation is with an ancient stool, carved out of wood in a form of a figure of deity of Luba tribe. This lot fetched Quittenbaum €16 000 while it was estimated in €2000 more.

Another interesting lot is a high wooden sculpture of Congolese Luba tribe. Possibly, it represents a certain local deity and is amulet. Similar fetishes were popular among the people of colonial Africa. Made for the protection against illnesses, elements and other disasters they were essential attribute of all ritual ceremonies and belonged to the whole community quite often. The sculpture put up for the sales (estimate: €15 000) was sold for €12 000.

The only Quittenbaum’s “record” is the brass sculpture of an antelope created by the masters of Malian Bamana tribe. It was estimated at €11 000 and sold for €13 000.

The basic part of the sales totaled €214 350 from the lots of ceramic sculpture and the small ritual masks ranging to €5000. At the same time, valuable, rare works from the countries of colonial Africa were sent to the section of postauction sales.

The rare ritual sculpture Mbulu from Kota (Gabon) tribe which was represented as the top lot of the auctions is worth mentioning. It is an expressive figurine cut from a wood. It was created in approximately 1920. It is covered with bronze plates and decorated with skilful stamping. Usually, such figures were placed in tombs of influential leaders. Mbulu is still in the open sale (estimate: €30 000). The same situation is with an ancient ritual mask of Liberian Dan tribe. It is made of wood and fabric in the middle of the 19th century. The lot is estimated at €20 000.

It is difficult to define the reasons for so low results of the auction. Probably, it connects with a seasonal decline of interest of auctioneers. On the other hand, the reason can be in an incorrect price-formation policy.

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Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 9:19 am  Leave a Comment  

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