Three-quarters (€16.7m) of Christie’s premium-inclusive €21m tribal art auctions on November 21-22 came from the collection formed by Pierre Verité and his son Claude. These 198 lots were offered in collaboration with specialist dealer Alain de Montbrison.
Top lot at €5.5m (£4.86m) was a 21in (53cm) high Kona style carved wooden Hawaiian figure representing the God of War, Ku Ka’il Moku, dating from c.1780-1820. The carving was traditionally thought to have been acquired by Pierre Verité from Marie- Ange Ciolkowska in the 1940s.
The price sets a new auction high for a piece of Oceanic art, surpassing the $4m (then £2.76m) hammer paid in May 2016 at Sotheby’s New York for an Uli ancestor figure.
Another huge price for Oceanic art was set at Sotheby’s 66-lot tribal auction in Paris on December 12. A pair of wooden Rapa from Easter Island raised a double-estimate €3.3m (£2.9m).
The finely carved double-bladed dance accessories, measuring 2ft 4in (70cm) and 2ft 7in (78cm), had been acquired in 2008 from a British family where they had resided for several generations. The sale realised a premium-inclusive €10.7m.