Baule mask
The Baulé mask that sold for a hammer price of €4m (£3.57m) at Sotheby’s Paris auction of the Marceau Rivière collection. Image: Sotheby’s/ArtDigital Studio.

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The 250-lot auction of African artworks, offered on June 18-19, was assembled by Rivière, the well-known dealer, author and art historian, over half a century. Many of the lots came with notable earlier provenances to other major collectors and dealers in this field.

Works from Ivory Coast, about which Rivière has written extensively, were at the core of the collection and provided the five highest prices of the sale.

Topping the list after a long bidding battle was a Baulé mask of circular abstracted form which realised €4m (£3.57m) hammer (€4.72m including premium), getting on for double the estimate.

That places it in the three highest-priced African masks ever sold at auction alongside another Baulé mask sold for a premium-inclusive €5.4m in the same rooms in 2015 and a Fang mask from the Verité collection sold at Drouot in 2006 for a premium-inclusive €5m.

Dan spoon

A Dan spoon that sold for a hammer price of €800,000 (£714,285) at Sotheby’s Paris auction of the Marceau Rivière collection. Image: Sotheby’s/ArtDigital Studio.

The sale also recorded auction highs for two other Ivory Coast pieces: a Yauré mask that was formerly in the collection of Helena Rubenstein which sold for €900,000 (£803,570) hammer – €1.09m including premium – and a 20.5in (52cm) high carved wooden spoon from the Dan peoples at €800,000 (£714,285) or €972,500 including premium.