Not including Australia
See also : Tribal Oceania 18th century painting Orientalism George I to III French sculpture Bust and mask
Chronology : 1770-1779 1810-1819 1890-1899 1892
Dance Paddles on Easter Island
2017 SOLD for € 3.9M including premium
The large ao were reserved for dignitaries. Shorter and thinner, rapa were used in pairs by virtuoso dancers who twirled them, one in each hand. They have no equivalent in other tribal cultures. The largest rapa are 1.20 m long.
The rapa is a thin cylinder used as a handle with a flat blade at each end. The upper part has the outline of a head with protuberances for the ear ornaments. The facial features drawn identically on both sides consist only of the geometrically perfect double arch of nose and eyebrows. The pear shaped lower part is the abdomen. It is extended by a phallus. Limbs are absent.
A 82 cm rapa was sold for € 1.9M including premium by Sotheby's in Paris on December 10, 2014 over a lower estimate of € 300K.
In the same auction room on December 12 a set of two rapa 78 and 71 cm overall that were probably already a pair before their collection is estimated € 1M, lot 7. Only one of them has the phallus.
Record mondial pour une œuvre île de Pâques. Paire de rapa, 3.876.700 € chez @SothebysFr Comme nous l'écrivions Paris est définitivement capitale des Arts premiers. Démonstration en quelques chefs-d'œuvre ce mardi soir 12 décembre. https://t.co/gCY7iV9hbS pic.twitter.com/7wbQosAsXu— lecurieuxdesarts (@PresseKraemer) December 12, 2017
1776 Portrait of Omai by Joshua Reynolds
2001 SOLD 10.3 M£ including premium by Sotheby's
<< 1800 The Great God of Stone Age
2016 SOLD for $ 4.7M including premium
The origin of the model is lost in the mists of time. The Uli is essentially a warrior chief with piercing eyes, spectacular beard and protruding sex. His hairstyle as a peak within a frame is a sign of political power. The realization of the Uli is a long process: it is made from the tree planted during the funeral ceremony over the grave of the leader.
The Uli have breasts of women that do not bring a hermaphrodite ambiguity but reinforce the symbol of fertility, meaning the transfer of power by the outstanding deceased chief for the benefit of the living villagers. The male dancers also wear female breasts in wood.
Les Uli are carefully stored away from common people until they are brought out for a new funeral ceremony. This rare opportunity of use probably explains the excellent condition of some pieces. They were discovered too late, in the early twentieth century, to be emasculated by Christian missionaries.
An exceptional Uli is estimated $ 4M by Sotheby's in New York on May 7, lot 8. At 1.52 m high, it is one of the tallest known specimens. Its sculpture is remarkably artistic. An inspection by experts showed that it had been carved with stone blades or animal teeth, before the introduction of the metal in the island. A radiocarbon analysis dated the wood between 1650 and 1800 in our calendar.
Two specimens only have similar features concerning art and age. One is in the Louvre and the other in the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin.
I invite you to watch the video shared by Sotheby's (below).
< 1819 The Guardian of the Taboos
2017 SOLD for € 6.3M including premium
When James Cook visits Hawaii in 1778, the territory is divided. He meets Kalani'opu'u, the king of Kona district. In the following year a violent quarrel with that king results in the murder of the captain. Kalani'opu'u died in 1782, leaving the political power to a son and the religious power to his nephew Kamehameha who thus became the high priest of the god of war Ku also known as Ku Ka'ili Moku.
With this terrifying support Kamehameha manages to conquer the entire territory of Hawaii and starts a dynasty that will last until 1872. He builds for Ku large temples populated by statues with various ritual roles.
A complex social system named Kapu based on taboos protected the elites against middlemen and slaves. When Kamehameha dies an octogenarian in 1819 his favorite wife becomes queen and regent. Women had in the Kapu a subsidiary role that did not please the new regent. She forces the young Kamehameha II to abolish Kapu and to destroy temples and idols. English travelers will manage in the 1820s to collect a few pieces that escaped the iconoclasts, so being the ultimate symbols of a frightening pagan mythology.
On November 21 in Paris, Christie's sells as lot 153 a 53 cm high statuette of Ku made during the reign of Kamehameha I. It had been detached from a column on which it had served as a guardian in a temple or a necropolis.
The head is oversized above the muscular body whose attitude is powerful. The broad mouth shaped as a horizontal eight is fitted with teeth throughout its perimeter in an expression of total ferocity that suited Kamehameha I's ambitions.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's.
La vente de la collection d'art tribal de Pierre Vérité a rencontré un grand succès hier soir, avec l'adjudication d'une statuette de divinité hawaïenne pour 6 345 000 euros #ArtTribal #CollectionVerite #ChristiesParis #AuctionResult pic.twitter.com/eCLJpiQgx4— Christie's Paris (@christiesparis) November 22, 2017
1892 Te Poipoi (le matin) by Paul Gauguin
2007 SOLD 39 M$ including premium by Sotheby's
1892 The Tropical Peace of Paul Gauguin
2017 SOLD for £ 20.3M including premium
In 1892 in Mataiea, he meets his dream of developing a new art based on a subtle blend between the observation of landscapes and people and an exaggerated imagination of colors that will soon influence Matisse. His ideal landscape is not a topographical reality. His characters and horses are fixed for eternity in a static occupation.
Te Hare (la maison), oil on canvas 73 x 92 cm, is one of these peaceful scenes. This house is the hut that the painter rents in the village. Or not : it does not matter. It is dominated by a tall hibiscus tree. The extreme colors of tree and hills express the tropical moisture.
The rejection of Europe by Gauguin is extremely violent but not final. He returns to France with the intention of showing how his art has evolved. The exhibition of his Tahitian masterpieces by Durand-Ruel in 1894 horrifies Monet, Renoir and Pissarro. In the sale organized in 1895 at Drouot to finance the last exile of Gauguin, Te Hare is acquired by Daniel Halévy, encouraged by the last master who still understood and encouraged the artist, Edgar Degas.
Te Hare was sold in November 7, 1991 by Ader Picard Tajan for FF 52M, a very high price for that time. This painting is estimated £ 12M for sale by Christie's in London on February 28, lot 18. Painted in the same year, Le Vallon, 42 x 67 cm, was sold for £ 6.4M including premium by Christie's on June 21, 2011.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's :
1892 Gauguin in the Enchanted Valley
2011 SOLD 6.4 M£ including premium
This great interpreter of human nature is enchanted by the landscape. This valley surrounded by mountains is his own Montagne Sainte-Victoire, with its collision of colors and the harmony of its lines.
There are indeed Cézannian accents in Gauguin's Vallon, oil on canvas, 42 x 67 cm, for sale by Christie's in London on June 21. Nature is grand but not hostile. Far, very far away, peasants are going to the fields without addressing the presence of the artist.
This painting, which comes directly from the Beyeler estate, is estimated £ 5.5 M. It is shown in the press release shared by AuctionPublicity.
POST SALE COMMENT
The result, £ 6.4 million including premium, has remained close to the lower estimate. No surprise.
1891-1893 Gauguin fled from Europe
2011 SOLD 11.3 M$ including premium
He is not really beside but actually ahead of his time with his paintings showing bold compositions and bright colors and his iconoclastic themes. He also embodies the new taste for primitivism, like the somehow naive philosophers of the eighteenth century who attempted empathy with the "noble savages".
Arriving in Tahiti, he believes finding there the freedom of thought, and also the sexual liberty. The young Tahitian women inspire him. The wooden sculpture for sale by Sotheby's in New York on May 3 dates from this period of euphoria which ends in 1894 by his return to France.
It is the head of a young Tahitian woman with a serene expression, 24 cm high. The artist made for this piece a pair of ear ornaments in boxwood and a necklace of coral and shells in native style with five rows which all remained in place on the statue.
As Modigliani will do after him, Gauguin was able to express in a bust his view of the ideal woman. He will present this so personal work to the daughter of a critic who was not hostile to his art. Today, $ 10M are expected.
The image is shared by Artdaily.
POST SALE COMMENT
The price is high, but no surprise: $ 11.3 million including premium.
ca 1895 Still Life of Tropical Fruits
2015 SOLD for £ 11.6M including premium
He found what he expected but his own living conditions were precarious. He pulled away from Papeete too dependent for his concern upon the French administration. In the countryside, he did not accept barter in a village community which had no monetary use. Close to misery, he could not acquire canvases and carved more than he himself had desired. This first stay had lasted two years, from 1891 to 1893.
The second stay began in 1895. He organized it better in order for it to be more sustainable and he worked more conveniently on his mystical themes animated by the figures of the Polynesians.
Gauguin admired the still life by Cézanne. He however executed very few still lifes during his first stay. A composition with fruits and chillies painted in Tahiti in 1892, 32 x 66 cm, was sold for $ 12.4 million including premium by Christie's on November 6, 2007.
A still life of mangos, oil on canvas 30 x 47 cm, was sold for £ 3.6 million including premium by Sotheby's in London on 20 June 2005. It comes back in the same auction room on June 24, lot 11estimated £ 10M.
Undated, this painting was done during the first visit or, more likely, at the beginning of the second in 1895 or 1896. The extensive correspondence left by Gauguin leaves no doubt as to his intention: he practiced still life to keep cool between two mystic quests.
The angular composition is bold like a Cézanne, but the use of strong colors, deliberately exaggerated to reach the splendor while refusing to copy the nature, is similar as in Gauguin's landscapes. The displaying of mangos is a new challenge by the artist to the European civilization. It is not new in his art since he had already chosen this theme during his stay in Martinique in 1887.
1896 Gauguin keeping cool in Tahiti
2010 SOLD 5.5 MCHF before fees
At the end of his stay in Brittany, the Vision of the Sermon (Jacob's Fight with the Angel) (1889) was a social and religious critical comment, one of the most powerful images from the metaphysical art, but also, of course, the expression of his own doubts and anxieties. It was urgent that Gauguin keeps cool.
The Tahitian vahines are not the gullible Breton women of the Sermon, whom they do not know. Their peaceful life, close to nature, provides a boost of inspiration to the artist.
A group of women is shown in the oil on canvas dated 1896 titled Te Arii vahine. The two women in the foreground are nude and quiet. The lot is for sale on June 18 by Galerie Kornfeld in Bern. Its small size, 26 x 32 cm, assigned a reasonable estimate, 2 MCHF.
It is however an important work, one of those which prepared the two masterpieces of the Polynesian period of Gauguin: the calmed metaphysics of Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? (1897) and the tribute to the women in And the Gold of their Bodies (1901).
POST SALE COMMENT
Excellent result, 5.5 million CHF excluding fees, for this small size painting that I considered outstanding.
The examples of masterpieces of modern art sold outside the channels of multinational groups are rare. This observation reinforces the merit of Galerie Kornfeld. Bravo.
1902 The Idol of the Maison du Jouir
2015 SOLD for $ 31M including premium
Gauguin blamed the Catholics for their hypocritical opposition to sexual freedom and rejoiced about the weaknesses of the prelates. He purchased a piece of land to the local bishop to build his home which he decorated as a temple to pornography under the complacently inscribed name Maison du Jouir (House of orgasm). He bought a young vahine, achieving to generate the total exasperation of the missionaries.
This exiled artist has humor. The best exhibition place in the Maison du Jouir is the door, visible from outside. Around August 1902, Gauguin installs two statues made by him in rosewood in native style. The man, Père Paillard (Father Debauchery), is a caricature of the bishop as a horned devil. The woman, Thérèse, is inspired by the gossip that the servant of the bishop was also his mistress.
On this phallic shaped statue 66 cm high, Thérèse is a nice woman, naked except for a loincloth. With her oversized head increasing her expressive feature, she is a transposition of primitive art to a Western subject. Although the intention of the artist was purely local, appealing beside him the laughers of Atuona, this artwork anticipates the interpretation of African and Oceanian figures by the artists of the twentieth century.
Thérèse is estimated $ 18M for sale by Christie's in New York on November 9, lot 5A. Its pendant Père Paillard is kept at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
1902 The Great Questioning of Paul Gauguin
2015 SOLD for $ 5.9M including premium
His life became a series of social woes. This uncompromising Christian rejects the Catholic teaching and liturgy but desires to interpret the mystery of life. At the time of the Christ Jaune, 1889, he surrounds the religious symbols with themes from modern life including his own self portrait.
His voluntary exile in Polynesia brings him a synthesis of Christianity and animism. From then Gauguin's art is no more exclusively Christian. Painted in Tahiti in 1897-1898, D'où venons-nous Qui sommes-nous Où allons-nous, which is conceived by the artist as his ultimate masterpiece, does not refer to Western religions.
On May 5 in New York, Sotheby's sells a Nativité, oil on canvas 44 x 62 cm painted in 1902, lot 33 estimated $ 4M.
A Polynesian mother has just given birth to a child in a narrow room looking like a stable. She is assisted by a group of women. The youngest women are naked or almost naked.
But this scene is not only exotic. The radiant halo around the child's head leaves no doubt that this nativity is divine and the praying attitude of the three old women behind the group is Christian.