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This carved wood spoon from the Dan peoples, Ivory Coast region, is estimated at €400,000-600,000 in the June 19 auction at Sotheby's in Paris. (Image copyright: Sotheby's/ArtDigitalStudio.)

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The spotlight will be on African art in June when Sotheby’s offers the private collection of the well-known dealer, author and ethnographic historian Marceau Rivière, assembled over the course of half a century.

Rivière’s love affair with African artefacts goes back to his childhood (he purchased his first mask aged just 11). In the early 1960s he began a career in the aviation industry which allowed him to live in Africa. His work took him around the continent for 20 years, enabling him to make local contacts and research and form his vast collection.

He also made friends with many European collectors and dealers and began trading with them. Consquently many of his pieces have notable earlier provenance to well-known names such as Paul Guillaume, Merton D Simpson and Charles Ratton. After leaving the aviation industry Rivière devoted himself full time to collecting, writing books on tribal art and setting up his gallery in Paris.

This 20½in (52cm) high carved wood spoon, above, from the Dan peoples, Ivory Coast region, is one of the highlights of the 250-lot sale to be held on June 19 where it will be estimated at €400,000-600,000.

sothebys.com