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Lot n° 33

Large figure of a standing male ancestor Lower...

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Large figure of a standing male ancestor Lower Sepik region, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia 19th/20th century Wood with a thick layer of red ochre and traces of other pigments, plant fibers, Nassa and Conus shells H. 85 cm Minor gaps, rubbing and wear from age and use Large figure representing a standing male ancestor, Lower Sepik region, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia H. 33 ½ in Provenance: - René Rasmussen, Paris / Brussels - Maurice Bonnefoy, Paris/New York/Geneva, D'Arcy Galleries, New York(?) - Picard sale, May 12, 1992 - Picard sale, February 14, 1994, notably from the André Blandin collection - Christie's, November 16, 1995 - Christie's, June 14, 2004 - Galerie Alexis Brimaud, Paris Imposing figure of a male ancestor standing with arms at his sides. The large, bearded head represents a third of the total height and sits low on the shoulders with a slight inclination, giving it a gentle, human look. The eyes, in the form of large studs, are inlaid in their center with a Nassa shell representing the pupil. The powerful nose is long and pointed, with anchor-shaped nostrils above a wide, smiling mouth with sensual lips. The ears, pierced for fiber ornaments, are set high on the sides of the face on either side of the large forehead. The torso and limbs are simplified but well-modeled, with the sex and fingers and toes well defined. The monoxyle figure stands on a hemispherical base. René Rasmussen, who was born in 1911 and died in Paris in 1979, was a French art dealer, gallery owner and collector. After 1945, René Rasmussen was one of the most important dealers in tribal art, specializing in sub-Saharan African art. Based in Paris, his gallery was visited by the Surrealists and Pablo Picasso, among others. Alongside Marcel Griaule, he was one of the discoverers of Dogon art. His collection was sold in 1979 and 1980, and some of his African pieces can be seen at the Quai Branly Museum. D'Arcy Galleries mainly exhibited contemporary and surrealist artists. Established on Madison Avenue, at number 1091 between Eighty-second and Eighty-third Streets from February 1957 to June 1968, the gallery was directed by Maurice Bonnefoy (1920-1999). Notable exhibitions ranged from Kurt Seligmann to pre-Columbian art. Bonnefoy had been stationed in Egypt during the Second World War, where he was a pilot in the Free French Air Force. He amassed a large collection of African and Oceanic art. He is best known for acquiring the largest group of Ewa sculptures from the Korwewori River in New Guinea and organizing major exhibitions in New York and Neuchâtel, ultimately selling most of them to the Basel Ethnographic Museum.

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