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Re: [African_Arts] new enthusiastic member!!!!

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  • Rand African Art
    Hi Alison and welcome! Craig gave you some good advice. It is hard to repress your enthusiasm when you first start out, I had that trouble and I am sure that
    Message 1 of 16 , Nov 8, 2005
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      Hi Alison and welcome!


      Craig gave you some good advice.


      It is hard to repress your enthusiasm when you first start out, I had that trouble and I am sure that many others did as well, I think it is a common characteristic of new collectors of anything.


      Books can be your best friend when learning about the things you collect.


      The book “The Tribal Arts of Africa” is a good overall type of reference book that will help in identification of objects and give you some background, but not much.


      The book “A History of Art in Africa ” is a better overall reference book in my opinion and will give you examples as well as a lot of information about the objects and the people.


      Descriptions of the books can be found towards the bottom of my Recommended Reading page on my website:



      My recommendation is to get a few general reference books to start out with, look at examples in them and use them as reference while you learn about what you are collecting and what you want to collect. As you look through books you will probably find objects that will jump out to you and interest you and you will be able to research them and look on the Internet so when you come across one you want to buy you will have some examples in your head to know what you are buying.


      Buying books on specific cultures and their objects will be something you will want to do down the road unless you find that you are particularly interested in the objects from a particular culture and then it might be best for you to locate a good book with lots of information and examples on the objects from that culture to use as a reference.


      You have to be careful what the runners or traders tell you about objects. You will find that if they know that you do not know much, they will tend to tell you everything is old and everything is rare and good. Just beware, but if this is how you acquire most of your objects it will be hard to judge on your own until you learn more. Buy what you like and what interests you and what you want to live with in your house, don’t buy something because they say it is good and valuable.


      You have a learning curve to get past, as all of us did. Your tastes will probably start to change the more you learn and by seeing lots of different examples of the objects that interest you. Going to museums and tribal arts shows and galleries is a good way to see good objects and learn more. It takes time though, it’s not something you learn in a few weeks, it takes time and dedication and sitting down with a lot of good books.


      If you would like to post some photos in the photos section of the group of an object you have questions about, that would be great. My advice is to only post images of one object at a time because you’ll get a better response from others rather than if you posted images of 5 or more objects at a time:



      I have some good recommendations on web hosting and web design tools for you if you are interested.




      Alison Brierley <brierleyalison@...> wrote:

      Hi there!!!

      I've just joined the group and this is my first email.  I am a new collector, but have travelled extensively and have always enjoyed picking up bits from here and there. 

      Lately my partner has caught my enthusiasm for primitive art and ritual, and we have started to seriously collect!! 

      At the moment we concentrating on African art (mainly Congo/Mali/Gabon) and have acquired about 18 pieces.....for us, they are ALL fantastic and exciting!!  I especially like the masks and fetish pieces, i'm at present trying to find out things like..."why exactly did they put glass in the eyes?  Was it to reflect the viewers soul?"; & "Why is one of my pieces covered in brass, and is that a 'monkey' skull and bones in the compartment in it's back?"

      We are having trouble repressing our enthusiasm and want to buy everything our 'man-who-can' bring us!  I am trying to do research on our pieces, but his handwriting is terrible (bless him!!) and in French!  If i post some photos, is there anyone who can help me learn more about my new 'babies'?

      We recently travelled to the Tribal Art Expo in Amsterdam (27th - 30th oct) and saw some amazing (if over-priced) pieces at the show and in the galleries!  I managed to pick the brains of a few people, and am now busy trying to build a little web site to house what little info i got.  What i need now is a bigger place to dispaly all the art i got!!

      As 'mrmural' said below...... "What should I be looking for?  Is
      there anything "special" that I should be looking out for?".... 

      I would appreciate the same informaion and advice, on the above and on my collection so far!! 

      Thank you

      Alison Brierley

      From: "mrmural" <MrMural@...>
      Reply-To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
      To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [African_Arts] First Tribal Auction..need advice
      Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 09:57:50 -0000

      I've been collecting African works since 2000 and have truly enjoyed
      myself thus far.  I generally find my pieces at thrift shops, yard
      sales, antique shops, and recently auctions.  I'm considering my
      Masters in African Art History, but haven't found the right program
           I'll be traveling to an auction that is offering 45 lots of a
      tribal collection that belonged to a family of Belgium Congo farmers
      back in the 40's/50's.  Are there any needle in the haystacks to look
      for?  The auction isn't until March '06, so I have time to study and
      brush up on all of the possibilities.  I won't know what the lots look
      like until 1 week prior to the auction, so that's not enough time to
      study up on pricing and history.  What should I be looking for?  Is
      there anything "special" that I should be looking out for? 

      I look forward to being a part of the group and sharing this
      fascinating subject. 

      ObjectFine artCulture club
      Fine art posterFine art reproductionsOrganizational culture


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