eagerly anticipated Parcours show has come and gone. For the first time in
my memory it seemed as if there was a deficit of energy and
absent were the "supernova" exhibitions, that kept dealers and
attendees conversation buzzing as in past years. There were three
noteworthy gallery exhibits, which were most often remarked upon; included
Alba and Alain Lecomte, Bernard Dulon, and Michael Hamson. More on them is
covered on the following pages.
noticed that the European dealers appeared more grounded in reality this
year, rather than the blind optimism I had heard in previous shows.
Very few of them tried to put a brave face, they conceded the weak state
of the current market. In fact, a few joked that there were 3
dealers for every active buyer. Perhaps not far from the
an example of how drastically attitudes have changed, one dealer with a
permanent gallery remarked, "Back in 2010, I couldn't wait to find a
gallery and move into it. After 6 years I wish I was out of it
already. At this fair, I've found few people want to spend more than
about 3000 euros on a piece anymore." You would hear about the
dealers who did well but not about the other two thirds, who either broke
even or perhaps took a loss on the show. Perhaps some buyers are
waiting to see how the U.S. election plays out and the effect its has on
the world economy.
do not seem to be as aggressively buying
as in past years either. In a down market, a dealer may flip a piece
in 10 days or still be looking at it on the shelf 10 years later.
Uncertainty can be a problem for the individual collector as
well. One notable exception is that it appears museums and institutions
are still pulling the trigger and in the buying mode.
is a continuous attrition and rotation of the exhibiting dealers.
There were fewer Tribal dealers this year, about 60 compared to 68 last
year. A number of excellent African exhibitors in particular;
Jacques Germain, Dalton Somare, and Pierre Dartevelle absent. Joris
Visser and Patrick Mestdagh not showing. Renaud Vanuxem was
exhibiting but not in the catalog this time.
would appear that many collectors have either stopped buying or have in
fact switched to "selling" in the last 5 years. Only a few
collectors who were buying 10 years ago are still buying today it would
seem. As evidence of how difficult it actually is to sell middle
market items, unlike past years, thieves and shoplifters didn't appear to
be practicing their profession in the galleries. One of the few
The African market appears hyper-competitive
with fewer buyers causing a real squeeze among dealers.
Discourse among dealers is at an all time low with each other
killing pieces and gorilla tactics used to retain customers. What's
new right? But last time I
checked you can't "own" a customer-- nobody can. The only thing more vicious
and ruthless than art dealing is politics.
African market was trending hyper-competitive with minimum number of
buyers causing a real squeeze among maximum number of dealers.
Fellowship among dealers was at an all time low, with a few killing others
pieces, and general gorilla tactics being used to safeguard or lure
customers. Nothing particularly new in that and there's always the
alternative of a career in politics; dealers who eventually give up
selling art, and go that direction will obviously have a leg up
Marcelin's "Exhibition Art Massim"
This Trobriand Massim splashboard was his catalog piece. Frank
had many things I liked. He is one of the few dealers on the accelerator
and constantly upping his profile.
A master-carved betel nut mortar and Spatula Set.
Group of "Gobaela" kula trade shell and bone spatulas.
A very old drum.
A Trobriand Massim dance wand. Until now, I had never seen one of
this slender style.
detail of above
A New Guinea Western Highlands Prehistoric stone pounder of a stylized
anteater from Ambum Valley. Ex. John Friede.
A very rare PNG Tores Straits, double Dugong hunting magic charm with
stone weights. Frank told me that Friede kept this above his entry
door for good luck. It was spiritually charged and one of my
favorite objects in the fair.
An Inuit Bering Sear spear throwing "atlatl" with ivory
A fabulous Tongan headrest with cut shell inlay.
Serra) Next to an ancient Nigerian Mboi/ Yungur figure.
Serra) A very strong Philippine seated Bulul figure.
Serra) The best Gope board in the fair. Black and white photo
of it in situ.
Serra) New Guinea Kerewa Gope board. This one was
exceptional and there were many of them this year at various galleries but
I doubt few sold? They seemed out of favor
Serra) A copulating Lobi and a Baule figure (left). Many of his
pieces were from the collection of sculpture "Eudald Serra" (no
relation to David).
Heathcote) A Philippine Ifugao receptacle box.
Heathcote) A Png Upper Sepik Mask from Douglas Newton.
Published in Crocodile and Cassowary.
Frohlich next to a Punu mask. His catalog piece was previously owned
by Pablo Picasso, a Mossi figure from Burkina Faso.
Frederic Moisan) Performing art "Costume en cannette)
Gallery) Andrew's Exposition: The Beautiful Lady, Masques Kpellie
Gallery) One of my favorite exhibits. I was impressed with the
dedication, skill, focus and
passion it took to assemble this many Kpellie masks! The impact was
very effective and memorable.
Gallery) The Beautiful Lady, Masques Kpellie
Larroque) I was just about to head into his gallery to get some photos,
but got busy chatting with colleagues. His Exposition was
titled Rouge featuring that Telem Dogon figure.
most crowded location on Rue de Seine and they are not buying tribal art.
Many boutique shops like this have replaced galleries, a trend I began
seeing about 6 years ago.
& Co.) Early in the fair they had a Jivaro "Tsantsa"
shrunken head, but longer. It was their catalog submission along
with that pair of Ipiutak Eskimo ivory snow goggles.
& Co.) The Yoruba Ibeji wall.
& Co.) A handsome group New Caledonian greenstone celt and axes.
Mackley Gallery/ Michael
Evans Tribal Art.
Mackley) The mask on the right is a Northwest Coast Bella Coola fish
Evans) Group of large Niue Island war clubs, part of Evans exhibit on Niue/
Savage Island Art. The club on the far left was his catalog
submission having Hurst Gallery provenance.
Frank) This year he featured an exhibit on Miniature Sculptures from
Borneo. He also produced a catalog "Dayak Amulets"
Frank) Impressive collection of Dayak "Tuntun" pig
sticks. To be highly effective dealer its virtually required
that you are a collector at heart.
Frank) Dayak Amulet- Ngaju Central Kalimantan Borneo.
Frank) Poor photos... many great amulets but these struck me.
Benuaqs from East Kalimantan.
Tribal Arts) This year he featured an exhibit on Bovin (cow) masks. Exposition:
Masques Bovins du Continent Africain.
A skin-covered widekum mask. An unusual naturalistic style.
Chokwe stool with back-to-back figures
Detail of above.
Pecci) Ancient Dogon and Songye figure (right).
Pecci) A Mossi footed container with twin Antelopes.
The two elegant Zulu horn stuffs were one of their catalog
submissions. Especially large and fine examples.
A fine South African Tsonga headrest. A whimsical example with
stylized Lion(?) face.
Detail of above. Face and tail on the opposite side. A really
The Zulu horn stuff bottle (far left) was their other catalog submission.
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