Artifacts with a mysterious purpose from these distant lands were roundly acclaimed, while Western paintings and sculptures also performed well.
Marchesas Islands, early 19th century. Pair of stilt stirrups or tapuvae, hardwood with very old brown patina due to use, h. 33.2 and 36.2 cm.
The sale on July 14 had a decided flavour of Polynesia, which produced several lots of significant importance. They included these stilt stirrups (or tapuvae) used in ritual combats in the Marquesas archipelago, which exceeded all expectations when the pair notched up €69,218 after a high estimate of €12,000. They possessed other virtues as well as their monetary value: their age, as they date from the early 19th century; their decoration of impressive, entirely engraved Tiki figures, and their impeccable provenance, as they belonged to the collection of François Langlois in Louviers. Another highly-sought-after item was an adze from Vanuatu, more precisely Malo Island or Malekula, consisting of a hardwood handle with a polished stone axehead bound on with coconut fibre. A collector snapped this up for €26,670. The next lot involved a change in latitude and period: an acrylic, ink and pastel on baryta board by Hans Hartung, entitled P1967-128. Dated 1967, the painting (73 x 50 cm, 2.3 x 1.6 ft), which came with a certificate from the Hartung-Bergman Foundation, inspired a battle up to €47,625. Lastly, from Germany's Swabian region, a polychrome and gold musician carved in the round in limewood, c. 1480-1500 (h 87cm, 2.8 ft), attracted €22,225. This figure was produced by the circle of the Munich master Erasmus Grasser (c.1450-1515)