Galerie Meyer - Oceanic & Eskimo art, catalogue for Frieze Masters 2012

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Britain and France are the starting points for the discovery (and rediscovery) of the island cultures of the Pacific in the 18th century. Holland, Spain and Portugal had sent their expeditions into the vast Austral Ocean in the 16th and 17th centuries but their results had neither the scale nor the scope of those led one hundred years later by Carteret, Wallis, Vancouver, Bougainville, Lapérouse, d'Entrecasteaux, and of course Cook. Vast numbers of whalers, missionaries, merchants and later colonial officers and administrators followed on the heels of these great European explorers. Many of these intrepid adventurers came home laden with souvenirs. Over the last 200 years these largely forgotten objects have slowly become recognized as true and wondrous works-ofart. Examples can be seen in the world’s greatest museums. Traveling exhibitions are offered every year worldwide; private collectors are proud to present them in their homes; and prices have risen to equal those of the ancient, classical, and modern fine arts. For me it is a pleasure to bring Oceanic Art and Eskimo Art of the highest caliber back to Britain where much of it was sourced in the 20th century. FRIEZE MASTERS with its unique contemporary perspective on historical art is a wonderful occasion to exhibit capital works of art from the South and North Pacific regions in London. Many of the pieces in my stock are from early collections formed in the 18th and 19th centuries up through the mid 20th century. These objects once graced the homes of their owners - collectors and connoisseurs with an eye for quality and rarity - others stem from early museum collections or were previously exhibited in important public venues. While I continue to deal in Oceanic art, my long standing private interest in early Eskimo art has caused me to open a new department in the gallery. I am enjoying the links that are being forged between the established collectors of Oceanic tribal art and those that collect the early Eskimo artifacts. The minute, archaic, ivory carvings pack an incredible visual impact. They are striking and eminently collectable - it is a pleasure to be able to work closely with collectors of this rarefied art-form alongside those collecting Oceanic art. AJPM

Front cover : 1) Master-carver’s adze with serpentine blade and coconut fiber binding. New Caledonia, Melanesia, Oceania. 22 cm. 18th/19th century. Ex collection Bernard & Bertrand Bottet, Nice, c. 1930/40.

Photo credits : All works of art : Michel Gurfinkel, Paris. © Galerie Meyer - Oceanic Art, Paris Other and early photographs : © Collection Cayetana & Anthony JP Meyer, Paris Except : Georges Braque at Varengeville, 1953 © Robert Doisneau/Rapho (all rights reserved) Every effort has been made to ensure correct copyright procedure. In the event you feel that your copyright has not been correctly asserted please contact Galerie Meyer - Oceanic Art, Paris. Layout and artwork : Galerie Meyer - Oceanic Art, Paris. Printed by TREFLE COMMUNICATION, Paris. September 2012, 2000 copies. All contents, information, text, images etc are © Galerie Meyer- Oceanic Art and the individual copyright holders. Reproduction or publication in any form or format, either whole or partial, of the items, images, photos, works of art and texts contained in this publication is prohibited without formal written approval with the exception of reviews and press usage. My thanks go to the organizers of FRIEZE MASTERS and to STABILO for their excellent work organizing the fair. My thanks to our photographer Michel Gurfinkel; our base-makers : Manuel Do Carmo, the Atelier Punchinello, and Francois Lunardi; and to our restorers Brigitte Martin & Edouard Vatinel. Roxane Peak, Manuel R. Larrain and Virginia Lee Webb have most helpful. Thanks as ever to my faithful and hard-working assistant Manuel Benguigui. A special mention for my wife and our children for their unfailing support, patience and affection.

2) An extremely rare funerary figure, or kulap, representing a male ancestor. Southern New Ireland, PNG, Melanesia, Oceania. Chalk (limestone) and traces of pigments. 37 x 10.5 x 10 cm. Circa 1870/1890 (the German colonial period during which almost all of these kulaps were collected). Ex. Coll. : Robert Lang (1909-1997) Rye, NY, Inv. N째 19878. Ex Kevin Conru, Brussels; Galerie Meyer Oceanic Art, Paris, 2001; Tomkins Collection (Victor Teicher, Conn.). Ill. : THE COLOUR OF MELANESIA. Conru, London, 1999, p. 60, fig. 32.

3) A monumental amfat or chiefly arm-band carved in one piece as a massive striated cylinder. Lihir Island, New Ireland, PNG, Melanesia, Oceania. Tridacna gigas (Giant Clam). 9.5 X 9.5 cm. 19th/ 20th centuries or earlier. Collected in the field by the German colonial Governor Dr. Albert Hahl between 1902 & 1914, with the original label. Ex coll. : Nelly Van den Abbeele, Brussels.

4) Tapa shroud or cape last used during a funeral at the Silanga Mission station in 1952. Nakanai People, North West Coast of New Britain, PNG, Melanesia, Oceania. +/- 154 x 105 cm. 20th century. Collected by E.A. Tull in 1952. Ex coll. : Ian Still, Brisbane; Gal. Meyer, Paris; Marisa Viaggi Bonisoli, Torino. Ill. : Meyer, Anthony JP: OCEANIC ART / OZEANISCHE KUNST / ART OCEANIEN. Kรถnemann Verlag, Kรถln. 1995, p. 378, fig. 412.

5) A very fine and rare form of dance wand representing a masked, female tubuan dancer. Both the tubuan and the male dukduk spirit figures are represented by a conical mask that covers the dancers body, but the male mask is without the facial features. Tolai People (Gunantuna), Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago, PNG, Melanesia, Oceania. Wood (Alstonia ?) pigments, cuscus skin and iron nails. 35,2 x 13,3 x 2,4 cm. 19th/20th century. Ex coll. : Ian Still, Brisbane; Galerie Meyer Oceanic Art, Paris; Josep Pons-Olivera, Barcelona; private collection, Paris. Ill. : Meyer, Anthony JP.: OCEANIE/OCEANIA N° 9. Catalogue d'exposition. Galerie Meyer, Paris. 1991, fig. 2. Meyer, Anthony JP: OCEANIC ART / OZEANISCHE KUNST / ART OCEANIEN. Könemann Verlag, Köln. 1995, page 362, fig. 396.

A pig-bowl originally from the George Ortiz collection on the desk of Ernst Beyeler in his office in Basel. 6) An extremely rare ceremonial food bowl in the form of a pregnant sow. The rounded belly is carved with two lines of stylized teats. Contrary to the Ortiz/Beyeler pig-bowl pictured above this example is more naturalistic yet the legs have human feet. Bowls of this type were the property of high ranking families and were used to serve food on ceremonial occasions. Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon islands, Polynesian Outliers, Oceania. Hard wood with a fine patina of age and usage. 53,5 x 15 x 17 cm. 19th century. Ex private collection, France.

7) The top section from a main support-post of the Men’s-House. The figure represents an important male ancestor. There is a secondary carving on the side of the post representing a stylized human face without the mouth. Murik Lakes and Mouth of the Sepik River, PNG, Melanesia, Oceania. 107 x 42.5 x 20 cm. Wood. 19th/20th century. Originally acquired at the Marienburg Mission, PNG; Dodier, Avranches; Henri & Hélène Kamer; H. & P. Leloup, Paris; sold Sothebys London, lot 120, 16/6/80; sold Loudmer-Poulain, auctioneers, Paris, lot 17, 24/6/81; sold Audap-Godeau-Solanet auctioneers, Paris 10/11/89, lot 153; Pierre Robin, Paris; Dutch private collection; D. Rosenthal.

8) A stone-carved suspension hook in the form of a stylized, flattened human figure representing an ancestor. The hook points represent the open wings of the Harpy eagle with the predator’s beaked head protruding downwards. The central scaled rib, the cobble-stone motifs carved on the cheeks, and the delicate, original painting are linked to the ancestral Mother Crocodile. Middle Sepik River, PNG, Melanesia, Oceania. Wood & pigments. 19th/20th century. 80 cm. Reportedly acquired from a German Catholic mission.

9) An extremely rare carved wood fighting shield, or lave lave decorated with incised motifs in imitation of those found on the very common woven cane fighting shields and which represent a highly stylized human figure. Roviana Island (?), Solomon Islands, Melanesia, Oceania. Wood & pigments. 81 cm. 19th century. Ex coll. Bill Evans, Sydney. Ill.!: Beran, Harry (ed.): OCEANIC and INDONESIAN ART, Collectors Choice. The Oceanic Art Society & Crawford House Publishing, Bathurst & Woollahra, 1998, page 85. SHIELDS OF OCEANIA. Oceanic Art Society & Crawford House Press, Australia, 2003, page 245, fig. 8.28.

10) A very rare, circular war shield. Astrolabe Bay, Rai Coast, PNG, Melanesia Oceania. Hard wood and pigments with a fine patina of age and wear and the remains of the original fiber handle. 83 Ă˜ cm. 19th/20th centuries. Ex coll. : L. & M. v. Bussel, Amsterdam; A. Eskenazy, Paris; P. Lambert, Belgium.

11) A fine and large war-shield known as atkom. Telefomin People, Mountain-Ok area, Upper Sepik River, PNG, Melanesia, Oceania. Wood with pigments and rattan. 149.5 cm. 19th/20th centuries. Ex private collection, Australia.

12) An extremely fine and early War-Shield, or epok. Karau Village, Murik Lakes, Lower Sepik River, PNG, Melanesia, Oceania. Wood, cane & pigments. 160 cm. 19th century. Probably field collected between 1908 and 1910 by Dr. Richard Neuhauss. Ex coll. : J. Hloucha, Prague; The Nรกprstek Ethnographic Museum, Prague; W. Hoogstraate, Amsterdam; possibly Konietzko, Hamburg; M. & J. Friede, Rye, NY. Ill. : Neuhauss, R. : DEUTSCH NEU-GUINEA. Dietrich Reimer Verlag, Berlin, 1911, vol. 1, 206b, p. 306.

13) A rare decorated war shield attributed to the painter of a shield from the collection of Sir William Macgregor, the first Governor of British New Guinea in 1899 now in the Aberdeen University Museum. Kiriwina Island, Trobriand Islands, Northern Massim, PNG, Melanesia, Oceania. Wood & cane, with the original traditional pigments. 78,8 cm. 19th century. Ex coll.!: H. & L. Krips, Australia (acquired in London); Harry Beran, Sydney; Alex Philips, Melbourne.

14) A fine war shield made of wood and cane slats. Solomon Islands (possibly Florida Island), Melanesia, Oceania. Wood, cane, fiber and parinarium nut paste. 83,5 cm. 19th/20th century.

15) Gope board representing a generic ancestor. Papuan Gulf, New Guinea, Melanesia, Oceania. Wood and pigments. 136.6 cm. 19th century. Field collected by Thomas Schultze Westrum at Kinomere Village on Urama Island in 1966. Subsequently in the Marcia & John Friede collection, Rye, NY; then private collection, Paris. Ill. : "Oceanic Art, Paris 2011" Michael Hamson, N° 13, pages 26/27.

The artist Georges Braque in his home at Varengeville in 1953 with a Gope board on the wall. Š Robert Doisneau/Rapho

16) A superb cannibal fork or i cula ni bokola, which was used exclusively for the consumption of human flesh by high ranking chiefs or great priests. Fiji, Polynesia. Iron wood (casuarina esquisetifolia), carved with metal tools with a superb patina of use and age. 26,3 cm x 3,4 Ø cm. 18th/19th century. Ex Galerie Meyer, Paris; Sir Alistair McAlpine, London; L. Wargon, Paris. 17) An exceptionally large cannibal fork or i cula ni bokola, which was used exclusively for the consumption of human flesh by high ranking chiefs or great priests. Viti Levu Island, Fiji, Polynesia. Iron wood carved with stone tools with a superb patina of use and age. 44,1 cm. 18th/19th century. Originally acquired in 1876 by Mr. Horn, caretaker of Government Buildings, Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji; W.A. Miller of Suva, Fiji & Rugby, England, 1929; James Thomas Hooper, Arundal, inv. N° 789; D. Vigne, France. Ill.! : Phelps, Steven: ART AND ARTEFACTS OF THE PACIFIC, AFRICA, AND THE AMERICAS-THE JAMES HOOPER COLLECTION. Hutchinson & Co. LTD. and Christies, Manson & Woods, London. 1975. Pl. 101, page 188 & 428.


18) A magnificent naturalistic portrait of a shaman in trance. Punuk culture, Saint Lawrence Island (?), Bering Sea, Alaska. 600-1600 AD. Walrus Tooth. 5,2 cm. See rear cover for another view.


19) A mouth-piece for inflating a seal skin float. The head of the seal jutting from the front of the surround is carved to show the emerging seal as it surfaces in its ice hole to breathe. A small slit at the side is for the attachment of the the plug on a lanyard. Grantely Harbor, Teller, North West Alaska. Walrus ivory. 5,5 cm. Early Thule culture, 1000 to 1600 AD.


20) A toggle or handle carved with!back to back,!juvenile walrus heads. Old Bering Sea!II culture, St. Lawrence Island, Bering Strait, Alaska. Mineralized walrus tusk. 400-800 AD. 8 cm.

21) The head of a shaman effigy with important facial scarification or tattoos. Okvik culture, St. Lawrence Island, Bering Strait, Alaska. Mineralized walrus tusk. 300 BC - 200 AD. 4,3 cm.


22) A section of an implement with a magnificently rendered sea-otter carved as the finial. Punuk culture, Alaska. Walrus tusk. 600 - 1200 AD. 9,5 cm.


23) An very fine stitching awl used for piercing the thick skin of seals and walruses prior to sewing them together as the outer shell of kayaks and umiaks. The finial of this wonderful tool is carved to represent, perhaps, the head of a sea-otter popping up from the water to observe its surroundings. Late Thule or Yupik culture, Alaska. Walrus tusk. 18 th/19 th century. 16,4 cm. Acquired from Jean-Claude GuĂŠrin, Paris.


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