Auctions in Paris next week will illustrate the fascination with African and Oceanic Art. Christie’s on Tuesday and Sotheby’s on Wednesday will offer rare sculptures, masks and objects dating from the 18th century to the early-20th century.
“Paris is the main center for African and Oceanic Art auctions,” says Susan Kloman, Christie’s New York-based international department director, with France’s colonial past playing a role. However, it was primarily the Paris art scene’s early recognition, at the start of the 20th century, of the importance of tribal art. “Paris was the first place to see African art as an art form,” explains Marguerite de Sabran, who heads the African & Oceanic Art department at Sotheby’s Paris.