PARIS – On November 24, Piasa will present its second sale of the year dedicated to the African continent and its related scenes. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
This sale will include several sections. The first section will feature works from the collection of Maine Durieu, a collector, gallerist and artist who was the niece of celebrated French sculptor Germaine Richier, and who passed away in 2015. Another section will be devoted to the masters and rising stars of contemporary African art, with works from the School of Dakar, Bili Bidjocka, Abdoulaye Konate, Yinka Shonibare, Billie Zangewa and Mario Benjamin. Piasa is also honored to partner with the Moleskine Foundation and curator Simon Njami for an exceptional charity sale to benefit the Foundation’s educational programs in Africa and beyond. Its lineup will offer works by Theo Eshetu, Mwangi Hutter, Donna Kukama, Maurice Pefura and Andrew Tshabangu.
Among the works presented will be an exceptional ensemble from Cote d’Ivoire and beyond, assembled by the aforementioned Maine Durieu. The works presented in this collection are the result of more than 40 years of friendship with artists, some of which date back to the 1970s, when Maine Durieu settled in Abidjan, where she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts.
Included are works by Martinique artists Louis Laouchez and Serge Helenon, teachers of Maine Durieu at the School of Fine Arts; founders of the movement Negro-Caraibe, as well as their students Theodore Koudougnon and N’Guessan Kra, but also Ernestine (Tina) Meledge, one of the few women painters in West Africa recognized for her work in abstraction at the time. They would become the leaders of the Vohou Vohou group, an Ivorian response to the iconic School of Dakar several years earlier. The selected works amount to a testimony, from the point of view of art history, of a Cote d’Ivoire in the midst of an economic miracle thanks to a coffee and cocoa boom, a place some called in the 1980s “Little Paris” or “The Japan of Africa.”
The collection also includes an exceptional group, both in number and quality, of paintings by Losseni and also Zephirin, poet of the bridges and skyscrapers of Abidjan, who is represented by an exceptional 1982 view of the Charles de Gaulle Bridge.
On the Congo side, we note the presence of four important watercolors by Albert Lubaki, whose works are well known to lovers of the art from the region.
The Maine Durieu collection, with the exception of the four Lubaki works, will be sold without reserve as a tribute to Maine Durieu’s generosity and commitment to sharing.
For the November 24 auction, Piasa is pleased to partner with the Milan-based Moleskine Foundation and curator Simon Njami for an exceptional charity sale featuring works by Theo Eshetu, Mwangi Hutter, Donna Kukama, Maurice Pefura and Andrew Tshabangu. To underline our commitment to supporting the entire art ecosystem, 50% of sales will go to the artists and 50% will go to the Foundation’s educational programs for young creative minds in disadvantaged communities in Africa and internationally. Piasa will not take any commission on the sales as a contribution to the Moleskine Foundation’s initiative and mission: To make creativity a driving force for social change.
The sale will also be an opportunity to discover a selection of works by established contemporary artists of the African scene as well as promising up and coming talents. A section dedicated to the School of Dakar will be led by a 1965 drawing by Bocar Pathe Diong. It prefigures the World Festival of Black Arts, which took place with great fanfare in Dakar in 1966. The School of Dakar section also includes works by M’Baye Diop, a lyricist of form; an exceptional work of poetry signed by Leopold Sedar Senghor and illustrated with original engravings by the French surrealist master Andre Masson, which forms a successful dialog between the arts of Africa and Europe. This edition comes with an exceptional provenance from the family of Leopold Sedar Senghor.
For the first time on the secondary market, a major work by the Franco-Cameroonian artist Bili Bidjocka will be offered for sale; Piasa has pictured it on the cover of the November 24 auction catalog. Titled Intentions (Inferno), it is an important collaborative work from one of Africa’s most celebrated conceptual artists. Embellished with delicate beadwork, it was conceived and produced between 2014-2018 for the iconic touring exhibition The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists, which was presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Frankfurt and the Smithsonian Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. Bili Bidjocka gained fame for his performances and installations presented in numerous bienniales, including the Havana Biennale in 1997, the Venice Biennale in 2007 and the Dakar Biennale in 2016.
Also of note is a major work by the Malian master Abdoulaye Konate, an artist selected in 2017 for the Venice Biennale; an important photograph by the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, whose work focuses on reframing outdated, eurocentric views of art history using the bright colors of Dutch wax fabric; and a drawing by Ouattara Watts, an Ivorian artist close to Basquiat who has been living in the United States since the 1980s.
The rising stars of the African scene are also represented by the Ghanaian Serge Attukwei Clottey, whose latest auction results have reached records; a tapestry with gold thread by South African wonder Athi-Patra Ruga; and a composition with an urban landscape on silk by Billie Zangewa.
Our selection of works by three generations of Haitian artists leads with Henri-Robert Bresil’s poetic landscapes with pink flamingos; a modernist still life by Luce Turnier; and a Cubist-inspired head by Mario Benjamin that calls to mind the works of Picasso and illustrates the complexity of the artistic traditions of this Caribbean island, the historical and cultural influence of which remains so important even today.
The current rate of exchange is €1 = $1.15.
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