Post-sale release | PARIS | TUesday 23 june 2015




Most important African, Oceanic and American Indian art sale ever to be offered at Christie’s France

  • 96% sold by value
  • 78% sold by lot
  • 3 lots sold above €1 million
  • 7 auction world records,
    including the 2nd most important price achieved for an African work of art sold in France, and the 3rd in the world 

François de Ricqlès, auctioneer of the sale, selling the William Rubin Kota for €5,473,500

Paris – Christie’s Paris’ African, Oceanic and American Indian art sale achieved €11,565,175 / £8,211,274 / $12,952,996 with strong sell-through rates of 78% by lot, 96% by value and 45% of the lots selling above high presale estimates. Leading the auction was the highly anticipated William Rubin Kota, a work epitomizing the links between African and Modern Art, in the great tradition perfected by the celebrated William Rubin, art historian and Director of Painting and Sculpture at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Collectors paid an honorable tribute to this iconic Kota sculpture, as it reached €5,473,500 / £3,886,185 / $6,130,320, making this work the most valuable work of African art ever to be sold at Christie’s France, 2nd most important price achieved for an African work of art sold in France, and 3rd in the world.

Susan Kloman, International head of the department, commented:Exceptional quality and pristine provenance have attracted an international audience with collectors from 10 different countries, bidding either in person in a full saleroom or via the telephones or the internet with spirited bidding by 6 bidders on the William Rubin Kota. 7 records were set during the sale, including for Baga, Grebo, Kota works, and 70% of the top ten lots were acquired by private collectors”.


Through the strong prices achieved by both lots from the former collection of Claude Vérité, bidders have demonstrated continued demand for these works. The Grébo/Krou mask sold for €1,321,500, breaking the record of a Grébo work and the Baga shoulder mask (D’mba) achieved €2,393,500 setting a world record for any Baga work.


Throughout the sale, strong interest was shown in works from all continents. Oceanic works were successful as shown by the extremely rare Maori nephrite handclub dating back to the 18th century, or possibly earlier, which reached 85,500, twice its presale estimate, and a an ancient canoe prow depicting a powerful Maori warrior which sold for €217,500. Finally, American Indian works sold for strong prices as illustrated by a Tlingit mask that achieved €337,500 against a €50-80,000 presale estimate.


We now look forward to our Parisian December sale.


 PRESS CONTACTS: Mathilde Fennebresque ǀ 01 40 76 85 88 ǀ

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction and private sales in 2014 that totalled £5.1 billion / $8.4 billion, making it the highest annual total in Christie’s history. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's has since conducted the greatest and most celebrated auctions through the centuries providing a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers around 450 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery. Private sales totalled £916.1 million ($1.5 billion) in 2014, an increase of 20% on the previous year.

Christie’s has a global presence with 54 offices in 32 countries and 12 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Mumbai. More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in growth markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Shanghai, New Delhi, Mumbai and Dubai.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits. 


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Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has sold 8 of the 10 most important single-owner collections in history, including the Paul G. Allen Collection—the most valuable collection ever offered at auction (November 2022). In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). 

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