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Re: Re : Aw: [African_Arts] I need information on how best to offer my small collection for sale

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  • Aaron Weston
    LOL.......It s amazing how value is attached to certain items. Especially in the so called Art World ...... ... From: Ed Jones Subject: Re:
    Message 1 of 15 , May 19, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
      LOL.......It's amazing how value is attached to certain items. Especially in the so called "Art World"......

      --- On Sat, 5/18/13, Ed Jones <bucit@...> wrote:

      From: Ed Jones <bucit@...>
      Subject: Re: Re : Aw: [African_Arts] I need information on how best to offer my small collection for sale
      To: "African_Arts@yahoogroups.com" <African_Arts@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Saturday, May 18, 2013, 7:13 PM

       

      Supicions 2 and 3 indicate the primary way the high dollar "art-world" operates... Somewhat surreptitious and clandestine.
       
      Don't you realize secretive and private objects draw the most attention when displayed to the right audience?  That also includes the entitlement and right of [private] ownership.
       
      In June 2006, a 19th century Fang-Ngil mask fetched more than $7.5 million at the Drouot auction house in Paris... A record amount for [so-called] primitive art. Though it was believed to have been kept out of public view for most of the 20th century, the collection made a big impression on artists such as Picasso, Henri Matisse and surrealist Andre Breton, who might have viewed it in the 1930s.  Underscore the words "believed", and "might" aside from other things if you were to comprehend the published story in it's entirety.
       
      Now, documents (Suspicion 1) might be indications for proof or "trace".  However, what happens when there isn't documentation?  Hmmn, time to focus on the object and go well beyond [flawed] Western provenance.  As John Monroe mentioned, time to look upon and carefully discern the object in relative traditional African as well as non-African scholars as a means of understanding the relation of past to present .  It is the most effective tool available (besides NDT, radiocarbon dating -14/C14/AMS, etc.) which is not always the most feasible or ecomonic options.   So, why not do learn to do that "coop-thing" initially in the first place?
       
      LOL.  Not all of us will have egg on our faces.
       
      Ed 
       
      From: Lawrence <lawrence_owens@...>
      To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, May 17, 2013 8:43 AM
      Subject: Re: Re : Aw: [African_Arts] I need information on how best to offer my small collection for sale
       


      Just to add my five cents' worth...

      Suspicion 1
      The document is just far too good to be true. It is aged peripherally, the ink and typeface is too clear, there are evident overwrites and there are inexplicable font changes and letter crowding. Further, the letters overstamp many of the creases rather than being creased after they were written and the paper folded. I sent the document to a historian colleague who works in Paris and they added that the French is unusual and somewhat stilted; possibly not a native speaker. The condition of the paper is not inconsistent with the age stated, and it is my personal suspicion that it is genuine while the text is not.

      Suspicion 2
      These pieces were collected in 1902 and then vanished for 110 years. In that time, one would assume, they would be mentioned somewhere in familial correspondence, wills, included in photos or paintings, registered on estates, shown in exhibitions, listed as insured items, would have been valued, or assessed, or mended. A century of ownership must leave a mark somewhere. So where is it?

      Suspicion 3
      While the field is naturally an immense one, and it would be impossible to be aware of all the players in it, I would hazard this guess: if there was a very highly trained, artistically aware and cultivated female art expert with expertise in African sculpture (that was just being discovered for the first time) at large in Africa or even in Europe, then I am SURE that someone would have heard of her. There would be many documents concerning valuations, each stamped with her mark. She would have an address. And she would be famous as a female pioneer in a field utterly dominated by males. So where is she?

      I should be clear. I have not the slightest intention to impugn these sculptures or the owner thereof. It is merely my intention to point out what i see as slight inconsistencies that should make the serious collector hesitate. If they turn out to be what they claim, they will be worth a significant portion of a million or two, and all of us in here will have egg on our faces. So the case is to be substantiated. Their story needs to be told. As I have stated above, the document is insufficient. While I appreciate the owners' gentilesse in stating that they refuse to enter the fray, I am afraid that the onus is very much on them to prove that the pieces are real: at the price tag these could command, they are to be assumed guilty of being fake until proven innocent, not the other way around.

      --- In mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com, "Monroe, John W [HIST]" <jmonroe@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Everyone --
      >
      > Unfortunately, I have some considerable doubts that these Bangwa pieces are as old as Mr. Wolbes believes them to be. In terms of quality and form, each couple appears to be more or less reminiscent of the famous "Bangwa King" and "Bangwa Queen," both originally collected in about 1898 by the German explorer Gustav Conrau (see more below). To my eye, however, these figures lack the finesse and freedom of variation within the style one would expect to see in Bangwa court sculptures of this age (to see what I mean, try using Google to get a sense of the array of pieces attributed to the great late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Bangwa sculptor Ateu Atsa).
      >
      > The document Mr. Wolbes has included poses additional problems. This issue touches directly on my professional expertise: as a historian, I have been doing research in late nineteenth and early twentieth century French archives for about fifteen years, and therefore I have considerable experience with papers of this type. Several very visible anachronisms lead me to question this document's authenticity.
      >
      > Most obviously, there is the basic historical context. The first European to make contact with the Bangwa in the modern era was Conrau, in 1898 -- collector of the Bangwa king and queen. The year after that, following an incident that led Conrau either to shoot himself or be killed, the Germans went to war with the Bangwa, whom they brutally conquered within a few years, as part of the larger conquest of the colony of Kamerun. Given this situation, it's extraordinarily unlikely that a French-speaking art dealer should somehow have managed to get a hold of not just one, but *six* Bangwa commemorative ancestor figures so soon after that moment of violent initial contact. Conrau sent his two figures back to Berlin, where they were put in the collection of the Berliner Volkerkuendemuseum. (See this catalog note for the Bangwa king, which went up for auction in 2009: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/sculptures-statues-figures/tres-importante-figure-dancetre-royal-masculin-bangwa-5272964-details.aspx )
      >
      > I'm not sure how this mysterious "Jess Olivier" -- a name I haven't encountered once in my own extensive research of the trade in ethnographic objects during this period -- could possibly have managed to come into possession of these pieces in the first place. Very intense nationalistic tensions between France and Germany manifested themselves everywhere during this period -- even in disputes about the control of ethnographic "specimens" from colonized areas. In 1902, from the German point of view, objects of this type would have been very important colonial trophies, and therefore would almost certainly not have been allowed to go to a French or Belgian dealer.
      >
      > Next, on a more subtle level, there is the matter of the document's contents. This is simply *not* how a dealer in 1902 would have talked about African sculptures of this type. The kind of affirmative, aestheticizing discourse you have here, which characterizes these objects as bearers of a rich African civilization, is not something we see in European (and especially French-language) descriptions of African sculpture until 1916 at the very earliest. In the highly unlikely event a French dealer would have acquired six sculptures of this importance at such an early date, he would probably have presented them as "museum supplies," or "scientific specimens," rather than as art objects. Also, it's strange that a French dealer would have these pieces in the first place, instead of the leading *German* dealer of ethnographica at the time, Umlauff -- which did business across Europe.
      >
      > Finally, there is the document's facture. I have seen many, many documents from this period, and the paper never looks this dark. The crumbled edges, also, are not what one usually sees. I'd guess that this paper was artificially aged. The type-written script is perhaps even more suspect. That particular narrow-capital, sans-serif font is something one frequently encounters on telegrams, especially from the 1920s through the 1940s. It is out of place on a typewritten letter from 1902, where one would expect to see a serif font -- or, even more likely, handwritten script.
      >
      > John Monroe
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________
      > From: mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com [mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com] on behalf of Ro Lubro [rolubro@...]
      > Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2013 9:47 AM
      > To: mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: Re : Aw: [African_Arts] I need information on how best to offer my small collection for sale [10 Attachments]
      >
      >
      > [Attachment(s) from Ro Lubro included below]
      >
      > Hi Daniel,
      >
      > Thank you for your reply.
      >
      > I don't think this is eBay material, given the value of the statues..
      >
      > I hereby send you the pictures.
      >
      > Extra information::
      >
      > All from 1902.
      >
      > Set 1:
      > Male & Female 105 cm / 41,3" high
      > Wood type: Baobab
      >
      > Set 2:
      > Male & Female 160 cm / 63' high
      > Wood type: Baobab
      >
      > Set 3:
      > Male & Female 180 cm / 70,9" high
      > Wood type: Yokaliptus
      >
      > I also added a scan of the original certificate. There is one certificate for the complete lot of 6 statues.
      >
      > If you have any further question, please feel free to ask.
      >
      > Due to my busy schedule I kindly ask you to contact my via email. (rolubro@...<mailto:rolubro@...>)
      >
      > Kind regards,
      > I.P. Wolbes
      > +31 - 6-14196542
      >
      > ________________________________
      > From: Mon Bakota <monbakota@...>
      > To: mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2013 10:09 AM
      > Subject: Re : Aw: [African_Arts] I need information on how best to offer my small collection for sale
      >
      >
      > OK
      >
      > send us pictures and also you can sell them throug ebay or open you blog.
      >
      > Daniel
      >
      > --- En date de : Mer 15.5.13, jens nagel <jenagel@...> a écrit :
      >
      > De: jens nagel <jenagel@...>
      > Objet: Aw: [African_Arts] I need information on how best to offer my small collection for sale
      > À: mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com
      > Date: Mercredi 15 mai 2013, 20h26
      >
      >
      >
      > Hello Ro, you could start to present some Fotos of your statues.
      > Best regards
      >
      > Gesendet: Mittwoch, 15. Mai 2013 um 16:16 Uhr
      > Von: rolubro <rolubro@...>
      > An: mailto:African_Arts%40yahoogroups.com
      > Betreff: [African_Arts] I need information on how best to offer my small collection for sale
      >
      > Hello all,
      >
      > Can anybody please advise me where/what I can do best to sell my small collection of African statues?
      >
      > Since I do not have may statues (3 x a couple) but they have a high value estimate, I find it very hard to sell them in my country. (Holland)
      >
      > Any tip will be highly appreciated.
      >
      > Kind regards,
      > Ro
      >

       
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