Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Private African Art Collection Sold in Paris Dec. 7, 2007

American collectors Brian and Diane Leyden, whose extensive collection of African art Brian amassed over the past 40 years, decided to sell 15 pieces at Sotheby’s in Paris. Why Paris? “All of the objects are from two Ivory Coast tribes, the Bete and the Senufo,” he said. “The market for them is stronger in Paris than it is in the United States.” (The strong Euro may also have something to do with it.) The Leydens concentrated on works in the pre-Colonial style and statuary whose impact on 20th century Western art is most evident. The sale took place on December 5, 2007 and though only seven of the lots sold, for a total of €2,200,750 ($3,225,307), the major pieces found buyers.

Images of women brought the highest prices, including the star Senufo figure, a 19th-century object from the Ivory Coast or Mali that sold to an anonymous American buyer for €844,250 ($1,240,110, est. €500,000–800,000). Senufo statuary was popular among early 20th-century artists, including Andre Derain and Fernand Leger. A second highlight of the sale was a stylized Bete figure of a women, also from the 19th century, that was pre-empted by the Musee du Quai Branly for €704,250 ($1,034,473, est. €600,000–900,000), setting an auction record for a Bete figure. Another Senufo female figure, with arms folded by her sides, went to a European collector for €384,250 ($564,425, est. €350,000–500,000).

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