EDITORIAL REVIEW:  2017 PARCOURS des MONDES TRIBAL & ASIAN FAIR

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(Text and photos by Michael Auliso)

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Gallery Layout Map

 

(rue des Beaux-Arts)  Opening night.

 

The context for the Parcours fair is that it is a concentrated burst of business and activity for the street level galleries, but only once a year.  Local dealers lament how the crowds and enthusiasm vanish quickly, and how the normal year round "quiet" quickly resumes when the fair ends.  But, for one week this fair is a lot like an old fashion goldrush.  Things are being discovered, sold and stolen.  All this excitement and activity attract, the good, the bad and the ugly.  The good dealers display their best shine while customers stake their claims, buying and reserving objects.  Ready to make their move, however, are predators, scammers and grifters are waiting.

Upon arriving, I immediately began hearing how some unfortunate collector had like 6 Maori hand clubs stolen from a French base maker.  He had carefully selected his favorites from his collection to mount for display, so he could enjoy them more.  Now they were gone.   I was having lunch with a customer and the topic of the theft came up.  He said to me, "yes, I'm sick about it and I must go to the police afterward to file a report"!!  I too was sick to learn it happen to someone I consider a friend.  In summary, be real aware, since some people in town have ugly motives like theft.    

 

 

(Serge Schoffel - Art Premier) Opening night.  That's Serge's wife Lulu next to a Leopard sculpture from Benin.

 

(Serge Schoffel)  Serge was at it again in this large gallery space.  The massive size of the New Guinea ceremonial trade axe was staggering.

 

(Serge Schoffel - Art Premier)

 

(Serge Schoffel - Art Premier)   I'm really struck by their tenacity and passion.  This time they had a headdress exhibit which easy to like:  "Coiffe de plumes rouges defalim".

 

(Serge Schoffel - Art Premier)  Headdress exhibit cont. 

 

(Serge Schoffel - Art Premier)  Headdress exhibit.   A very special example of a New Guinea bridal headdress from the Iatmul people called an ambusap.  A desirable one with mask-like faces on the back and richly embellished with shell and trade bead wealth adornment. 

 

(Serge Schoffel - Art Premier) Maori Canoe prow- Ex. Freddy Rollins collection.  As a dealer we don't know if we'll own a piece 12 days or 12 years.  I almost bought this same prow 12 years ago but Serge got it instead.  I still love it and know he does too.  Where would you go to find another one for sale if you wanted?   

 

(Serge Schoffel - Art Premier)

 

(Serge Schoffel)  challenging lighting conditions.... but the surface on this Papuan Gulf Gope board was amazing.  It was an example made of tree bark.  Its among the oldest I've seen, having a multi-generational use patina and surface.   

 

(Serge Schoffel - Art Premier) This old Kenyan Kikuyu shield was groovy.  This was published in a large ambitious catalog they did for the fair having abundant text. 

 

(Galerie Flak) Opening night American Indian gallery. 

 

 

(Entwistle)  Opening night.  On the rectangular table (left to right), a Mangbetu harp, a rare New Guinea drum from the Torres Straits, a carved Austral Island Paddle and a Marquesas Island U'U club on the wall.  

Returning to our question, is Entwistle bigger than Sotheby's African and Oceanic Art department?  Some think they have been for years.   What other dealer has a larger staff, having two gallery/ office locations (Paris and London) and gets the highest majority of pieces before they go to auction?  What other dealer-team is more effective at securing important pieces worldwide at auction and privately?  What other dealer is currently brokering the sale of collections rumored to be over 100 million euros to the biggest Tribal Art buyer in the market?  Entwistle!

It's widely known in the community that Bobby and Lance brokered the sale of The Ziff Collection to a Billionaire Greek businessman/ collector.  Congrats!  Entwistle, as advisor, closely worked with Bill Ziff to assemble his collection to begin with.  So, perhaps its no surprise that they were entrusted to sell the collection they fundamentally helped form?  

Think about how many important works of art are sold "privately" that will never be seen in a Sotheby's or Christies auction catalog?  More than you can ever imagine. 

 

(Entwistle) Exterior window display.   Attention-grabbing Polynesian treasure trove.

 

(Entwistle) Exterior window display. Look at the quality of the Whale tooth ivory inlays on this early Fijian Ula club!  A great piece can broadcast its splendor and authenticity even across the street.  This piece did it so well.

 

 

(Yann Ferrandin)  With a stunning Southern Philippine Shield from Mindanao.

 

(Yann Ferrandin)  Backside of above with relief-carved pass through arm handle.

 

 

(Thomas Murray)  with new offerings and always a crowded gallery. 

 

(Thomas Murray) His collection of various celts, hand axes, and projectile points.  I would tell the housekeeper not to dust each one of them.

 

 

(Bernard de Grunne)  Had a number of pieces of exciting quality, rarity and age.  That New Guinea stone-carved Sawos hook on his window was a favorite piece.  It had wonderful scale and was very soulful.   It was one of his Parcours catalog pieces.  Looking at it in person was memorable and a blizzard of an art experience.

 

(Bernard de Grunne)  There was a third Luba stool that was not in frame.   In person, their quality was stunning.  Since this was my first time ever allowed to take photos, I didn't want to overstep. 

 

(Bernard de Grunne)  Finally, this mask almost knocked me over after seeing it.  A New Guinea Torres Strait mask of large volume and proportions.   

 

 

(Voyageurs & Curieux)  Look at the scale of the PNG Lake Sentani food dish next to the slender New Ireland Malagan figure.  

 

(Voyageurs & Curieux)  Never seen one before.  This was a small New Guinea Astrolabe Bay body shield, worn over the chest.  It offered protection from arrows.  If you doubt its age, look at the patina on the back (below).

 

(Voyageurs & Curieux) backside of above.  Encrusted patina from generational use.  

 

    

(Voyageurs & Curieux)  I had never seen one of these either...  As I recall, he told me it is a rare Middle Sepik Club.  The spine of a Crocodile and the head of a Hornbill bird? 

 

 

(Interior Jo de Buck - Tribal Arts)  Both of us looking out to wet streets again.  It poured rain all of Wednesday and most of Thursday.  

 

(Jo de Buck - Tribal Arts)   Jo (center) Blue Jacket.  To his left browsing the gallery is dealer Francois Coppens.

 

(Jo de Buck) Songye Kifwebe mask.

(Jo de Buck)

 

(Jo de Buck) A large Kongo or Yombe figure.

 

](Jo de Buck)  An old encrusted African Mambila mask I believe.

 

 

\](Didier Claes) This is Didier's brother Alexandre.  He is standing next to a large attractive wicker Azande Congo shield near the entrance. 

 

(Didier Claes)  This time they were exhibiting in the large gallery at 12 rue des Beaux-Arts which was occupied for years by Albert Loeb.  This gallery sees a lot of turnover at the Parcours and is in demand for important exhibits requiring ample "space".

 

             

(Didier Claes)  Just a sampling of Didier's fine Ivory Coast combs "Galerie La Forest Divonne" exhibition.  He sold the "entire collection" on display to a single buyer prior to opening.  During the fair, I understand he sold one other piece. 

 

                      

(Didier Claes cont.)

 

(Didier Claes) Dogon

 

            

(Didier Claes) A Buyu figure- Congo.

 

(Didier Claes)  Congo Fetish.  A real favorite.

 

 

(Galerie Jacques Germain) Exhibiting at the cool Art Deco/ modernist furniture gallery of Alain Marcelpoil. 

 

(Galerie Jacques Germain)  A Paris moment.   Jacques Germain (right) standing with a collector from Cologne Germany, making a statement in a purple plaid suit with silver sneakers.  I understand he shares the same tailor as Marc Felix....we may see more of him later? 

 

(Galerie Jacques Germain)  He published an 8th volume of his catalog for the items in the exhibit.  He has great taste. 

 

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