While the inauguration of the department can be traced back to the early 1970s, it is the sale of the James Hooper collection that established Christie’s as one of the leading actors on the market of African, Oceanic and North American art. The mythical Hooper collection, offered for sale over several years between 1976 and 1979, mirrors the spirit of Christie’s auctions in the field to this day. As a result of five decades of professionalism, dedicated labour and passion, our house has sold some of the finest and highly prized classical works of art from the cultural areas of sub-Saharan Africa and the Southern Pacific.
Under the supervision of Hermione Waterfield, the first woman appointed as Director of an African and Oceanic art department in 1976, and William Fagg, who joined Christie’s after a long and distinguished curatorial career focused on African Art at the British Museum, Christie’s was the first auction house to introduce the practice of scholarly notes in its catalogues. This tradition, which honours the art historical and academic importance of African and Oceanic Art, continues to this day and Christie’s commitment to exceptional expertise lies at the heart of our long-standing success and leadership in this field.
Dedicated auctions of African and Oceanic Art are held in Paris, New York and online. Our live sales and exhibitions take place alongside Christie’s sales of Modern & Contemporary Art and Design, drawing on the complementary nature of these fields and collectors’ appreciation across these categories.
As constant innovators, we offer collectors a passionate and selective approach to buying and selling art in this category, leading to exceptional results and world-record prices. Our global team of specialists is always available for free and confidential valuations of individual works or collections. Please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss buying or selling at auction, online or through Private Sales.