Classical African Statue Art Sale Museum Auction
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Here is News in Classical African Statue Art Sale Sotheby’s. That Sotheby’s will offer an African reliquary statue in its contemporary art evening sale in New York during the week of June 29, marking the first time a work of classical African art will be auctioned alongside masterpieces from contemporary art icons such as Clyfford Still, Francis Bacon and Jean-Michel Basquiat

Known as “The Clyman Fang Head,” the statue has a presale estimate of between US$2.5 million and US$4 million.

The work was offered from the collection of the late Sidney and Bernice Clyman who began collecting African art in the early 1970s. In more than half a century of collecting, the couple assembled a group of masterpiece-caliber examples of the major sculptural styles of sub-Saharan Africa, according to Alexander Grogan vice president and head of Sotheby’s African & Oceanic art department in New York.

“The Clyman Fang Head is a legendary and iconic work of art, and we are privileged to showcase a work of its quality and provenance on one the biggest stages in the art world at Sotheby’s contemporary art evening sale,” Grogan says.

The Fang-Betsi reliquary statue headed to Sotheby's in June.
The Fang-Betsi reliquary statue headed to Sotheby's in June. ©Sotheby's

Presenting “The Clyman Fang Head” in the contemporary art sale is not only a nod to the piece’s influence on  modern art movements, including Cubism and Expressionism, but also to the New York-based collectors’ visionary taste and foresight in pairing African Art with modernist and abstract 20th century art, he says.

With its exceptionally elegant geometric form, the female head expresses artistic ideas developed by pre-Colonial African artists, which were transmitted to modern masters in the early 20th century. This artistic affinity is particularly evident in Amadeo Modigliani famed stone head sculptures, Grogan says.

“The Clyman Fang Head” was first published in 1931 by its first known Western owner, Charles Ratton In the late 1930s, it sold to James Johnson Sweeney the visionary American modern art curator and writer, who, with the assistance of Ratton, organized the 1935 exhibition African Negro Art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, according to Sotheby’s.

In 1986, the statue was sold from Sweeney’s estate at Sotheby’s in New York to William McCarty-Cooper, heir to British historian and collector Douglas Cooper The sculpture last appeared on the market in 1992, when the Clymans acquired it at auction in New York.

Dr. Abigail Adeyemi, art historian, curator, and writer with over two decades of experience in the field of African and diasporic art. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Oxford, where her research focused on contemporary African artists and their impact on the global art scene. Dr. Adeyemi has worked with various prestigious art institutions, including the Tate Modern and the National Museum of African Art, curating numerous exhibitions that showcase the diverse talents of African and diasporic artists. She has authored several books and articles on African art, shedding light on the rich artistic heritage of the continent and the challenges faced by contemporary African artists. Dr. Adeyemi's expertise and passion for African art make her an authoritative voice on the subject, and her work continues to inspire and inform both scholars and art enthusiasts alike.

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