In April 2018, Christie’s Paris will present the Prigogine Collection of unique Mezcala, Chontal and Olmec artefacts. Important Pre-Columbian works will also be offered in the Arts d’Afrique, d’Océanie, et d’Amérique auction.
The art of Mezcala and Chontal, from the mountainous region of Guerrero, Mexico, is known for its stone sculptures including animal effigies, masks, architectural models and most specifically, figurines dating from 300 to 100 BC. Little is known about these people, their language or the intended purpose of their artefacts. Like many Mesoamerican cultures, they were most probably ritual offerings for the hereafter.
Their sophisticated craftsmanship was likely inspired by the early Olmec tradition. The arduous task of carving into hard stones with simple tools led to simplifications in design, which gradually evolved into an expressive style of abstraction, recalling the serene Cycladic sculptures while also being referenced later in the artistic vocabulary of 20th century masters such as Henry Moore, Constantin Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti.
Nobel Laureate Ilya Prigogine and his wife Maryna started acquiring a variety of Mezcala, Chontal and Olmec works in the mid-1960s. The upcoming auction of the Prigogine Collection, carefully assembled over the course of 30 years, comprises 149 lots and is curated by the renowned Mezcala art scholar Carlo Gay. Many of the sculptures on offer have appeared in major Pre-Columbian art publications as well as several international exhibitions.
About the lot
9 avenue Matignon
9 April 2018
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