The Collection of Allan
Stone: African, Pre-Columbian and American Indian Art - Volume
Lot 56, Nail
power figure, Kongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 20 3/4 inches
Carter B. Horsley
16, 2014 auction of the second section of the Collection of Allan
Stone: African, Pre-Columbian and American Indian Art is highlighted by
many dramatic power figures and some Pre-Columbian masterpieces.
The sale of the famous
art dealer's collection was quite successful with 109 of 123 offered lots selling
bargain of the auction, indeed, perhaps of the entire auction season,
was Lot 56, a Kongo nail power figure from the Democratic Republic of
the Congo. It
has a very modest
estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It
sold for $18,750.
Only 20 1/4 inches high, it
was one of the smaller nail power figures in the aucton but
aesthetically it is on a par with the great crucifixion in the Isenheim
Altarpiece by Matthias Grunewald.It
is considerably smaller than Lot 47 at 20 3/4 inches, but
it is more haunting because of its weather erosion and more
naturalistic carving. In addition, its assortment of metal
much more interesting than those in Lot 47, which is 36 inches high.
The Isenheim Altarpiece was commissioned for the Antonite Monastery
near Colmar, France, which specialized in the care of plague victims
and the treatment of skin diseases like ergotism (St. Anthony's fire).
The altarpiece consists of three carved wood statues of
saints to which six wings are hinged and painted on both sides.
According to visual-arts-cork.com, "all this allows your to
change the displayed image according to the day." It
is displayed at the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar and has been
disassembled so that the panels can be viewed indepentently.
Detail of Lot
It has a very modest
estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It
sold for $18,750.
Lot 60, Female figure,
Kongo-Vili, Democratic Republic of the Congo or Gabon, 21 inches high
wonderful eroded figure is Lot 60, a Kongo-Vili remale figure from the
Democratic Republic of the Congo or Gabon. It is 21 inches
head in Lot 60
A closely related figure,
previously in the collection of Olivier Lecorneur, has been dated by
radiocarbon analysis to circa 1600. This work was once in the
collection of Merton D. Simpson. It hasa modest estimate
of $25,000 to $35,000. It
sold for $35,000.
Lot 47, Nail
Power Figure, Kongo-Yombe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 36 inches
of the auction's best works is Lot 47, a Kongo-Yombe nail power figure
from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is 36 inches
high and was once in the collection of Merton D. Simpson of
The catalogue provides the following commentary:
posture with right arm raised and left hand resting at the waist is a
frequently used Kongo convention of nkisi nkonde figures, an aggressive
pose once holding a spear; this gesture shows the figure's power to
kill by supernatural means. Reinforcing this position in the
present figure is the open mouth with stuck-out tongue, possibly a
reference to the illness that the figure is capable of causing in a
victim, and certainly meant to evoke fear or revulsions
They eyes, now mostly empty, were once filled with
charge materials such as gunpowder. The charge-box, placed in
front of the abdomen bears not the mirror or glass front often
seen in Kongo power figures (the materials for which were
by trade with Europe), but rather a more archaic form, a thick paste of
earth and ash coats the rectangular container, from which emergefour
tusks, referencing the four cardinal directions, a frequent motif in
The lot has an estimate of $700,000 to $1 million. It failed to sell.
Lot 57, Nail
Power Figure, Kongo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 30 1/4 inches
attractive but more fully punctuated with "nails" is Lot 57, a Kongo
nail power figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
It is 30 1/4 inches high.
Detail of Lot
lot has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $365,000.
Lot 70, Power
statue,Songye, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Name-piece
of the Master of the Bulbous Copper Eyes, 34 1/2 inches high
Lot 70 is the name-piece
power statue of the Master of the Bulbous Copper Eyes, Songye,
Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is 34 1/2 inches high
and was reportedly collected in situ by the colonial administrator M.
Geurts in the 1940s. In 1981 it was in the collection of
Armand Arman. It has been widely exhibited and published and
the catalogue entry states that this is the master's finest work and
"one of the finest Songye sculptures known." With its twisted horn on
its head, its large fee, its protruding belly, and particularly its
flowing and voluminous cascading headdress of feathers, it is a
memorable and haunting figure. It has an estimate of$600,000
to $900,000. It
failed to sell.
58, Power figure of the name 'Mananguna," Kongo-Yombe, Democratic
Republic of the Congo, 24 3/4 inches high
58 is a Kongo-Yombe power figure of the name "Mananguna" that was
collected between 1907 and 1909 by Father Leo Bittremieux for the
Scheuf Mission in the Kangu region and it was acquired by the
Universite Catholique de Louvain and eventually Merton D. Simpson.
It has an estimate of $60,000 to$90,000. It sold for $87,500.
Joined Power Figures, Fon, Republic of Benin, 17 inches high
27 is a small Fon joined power figures from the Republic of Benin.
It is 17 inches high and has an estimate of $10,000 to
It sold for
"Ejagham Ekpe Society Emblem, Nigeria, 50 inches high
catalogue notes the Ejaham people of Nigeria created collages about the
same time that Picasso began experimented with the method.
is one of their Ekpe Society Emblems. It is 50 inches high.
It has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It sold for $18,750.
Lot 55, Power
figure in form of a Janus-headed dog, Kongo-Vili, Democratic Republic
of the Congo, 28 1/2 inches long
55 is a Kongo-Vili two-headed dog nail power figure from the Democratic
Republic of the Congo. It is 28 1/2 inches long and once was
in the collection of Merton D. Simpson of New York. It has an
estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for $118,750.
Community power figure by the Master of the Rubenstein Songye,
Democratic Republic on the Congo, 40 inches high
77 is a community power figure by the Master of the Rubenstein Songye
from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is 40
inches high and was once in the collections of Freddy Rolin and Armamd
Arman, both of New York. The catalouge entry notes that a
closely related figure was in the collection of cosmetics magnate
Helena Rubenstein and the sale of her collection at Sotheby's Parke
Bernet in 1966 was the first major auction of African and Oceanic art
in the United States. The lot has an estimate of $300,000 to
sold for $485,000.
Community power figure, Songye, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 43
3/8 inches high
some of the Songye community power frigures from the Democratic
Republic of the Congo have rather crudely sculpture bodies, Lot 79 is
notable for havinng its torso covered in hide and its feet "contiguous
with the lid of a cylindrical ...container made of thick bark,
a form which seems to be uniqne in the Songye
corpus....and was probably used to contain magical materials or
divination paraphernalia." The face has six long tufts of
goat hair and the modeling of the head is very strong. The lot
has a modest estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $87,500.
Community power figure, Songye, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 42
1/2 inches high
78 is a dark, oily rubbed Songye community power figure from the
Democratic Republic of the Congo with a sculpted horn atop its head.
It is 42 1/2 inches high. It was formerly with
Merton D. Simpson and Mourtalia Diop, both of New York.
It has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for $131,000.
Community power figure, Songye, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 45
1/4 inches high
67 is a Songye community power figure from the Democratic Republic of
the Congo. It is 45 1/4 inches high and once was in the
collection of Merton D. Simpson of New York. The catalogue
entry notes that an antelope horn is atop its head and that the figure
probably once had a headdress of fibers and feathers. Its
face is plated with copper, a reference to the power of the blacksmith
and to lightning, and is dottedwith metal studes. The mouth
is inlaid with animal teeth.
The lot has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It sold for $965,000.
Lot 7, Oracle
figure (Kafigeledjo), Senufo, Ivory Coast, 42 1/4 inches high
7 is a magnificent Senufo oracle figure (Kafigeledjo) from the Ivory
Coast. It is 421/4 inches high. It was once in the
collection of Jay C. Leff of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. It has
estimate of $60,000 to $90,000. It
sold for $60,000.
Lot 6, Bamana
Zoomorphic Power Figure (Boli), Mali, 18 inches long
6 is a fine Bamana zoomorphic power figure (Boli) from Mali.
is 18 inches long and is similar to one that is considerered one of the
masterpieces of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris. It has a
estimate of $25,000 to $35,000.
It sold for $47,500.
"Ibidio Mask, Nigeria, 8 1/2 inches high
30 is a very powerful Ibibio Mask from Nigeria. It is 8 1/2
inches high. The catalogue entry notes that this
called Idiok,"is thought to represent a hell-dwelling spirit" that it
is an "extrremely rare variant.
frightening attitude of the mask is manifest in
the aquiline nose and the open mouth bearing larged
filed teeth. However, it is the eyes that dominate
character of this masterpeice of Nigerian sculpture.
modeled eye-lids are surrounded by large flaring discs, incised with
concentric rings and highlighted with red and white (kaolin) pigments.
Something of a mixture between halluzinogenic and hypnotic
expression, it is a testament of man's primordial quest to
fear through magic Only two other masks of this
rare iconography...are known: one in the collection of the
Department of Antiquities, Lagos...., and another in the collection of
Wally and Udo Horstmann" of Zug.
The lot has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $173,000.
Bellows, Fang, Gabon, 26 1/4 inches high
46 is a wonderful Fang bellows from Gabon. It is 26 1/4
inches high. It has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. It sold for $20,000.
Lot 38, Female ancestor figure,
Urhobo, Nigeria, 38 1/2 inches high
38 is an imposing Urhobo female ancestor figure from Nigeria that is 38
1/2 inches high. Her bracelets were worn by people of exalted
status that no manual labor was expected of them, according to the
catalogue entry. The lot has an estimate of $60,000 to
sold for $37,500.
Lot 89, left,
and Lot 88, right, Makonde helmet masts, Mozambique or Tanzania, 11 1/2
and 9 3/4 inches high, respectively
88 and 89 are two unusually distinctive Mkonde helmet masks from
Mozambique or Tanzania. They are 9 3/4 and 11 1/2 inches high
respectively. Lot 88 has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It failed to sell. Lot
89 has an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. It sold for 11,200.
Lot 85, Mask, Kivu Region,
possibly Bembe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 13 inches high
of the most impressive works in the auction is Lot 85,a Kivu Region,
possibly Bembe mask from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
It is 13 inches high. It has attachments of snake and other
animal skin on the reverse, "attesting to the mask's great spiritiual
significance. In this context it is a major observation that
the area above the proper right eye shows hundreds of scratch
marks. Each of these is an individual trace of
ritual practice in which a divinor ritual expert would shave
away small bits of wood for consumption as 'medicine.'
Of unusually large scale and mesmerizing
beauty the Kivu mask...is one of the last major examples of
its type to remain in private hands." The lot has an
estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $81,250.
Lot 18, Janus
helmet mask, Temne, Sierra Leone, 14 1/2 inches high
18 is a superb Temne Janus helmet mask from Sierre Leone. It
14 1/2 inches high. It has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. It sold for $12,500.
Lot 43, Bamileke
Lintel, Cameroon Grasslands, 65 inches wideng
43 is a Bamileke Lintel, possibly the work of a Babanki artist working
for the court of Baham, in the Grassfields Region of Cameroon.
is 65 inches wide.
The catalogue entry notes that
"the art of Cameroon, best known an its expressive 'savage'
style, was the key inspirational source for German Expressionism....In
the Bamileke kingdoms of the Cameroon Grassfields, all
and spiritual power was centralized in the person of the fon
(king) who resided in a lavish palace..., a raffia palmrib
construction with an open veranda facing the main market which was the
focal point of trade transaction and symbolic of the kingdom's
economic welfare....According to Harter...the design of human heads
symbolize killed enemies, a reference to the king's warfaring and
The lot has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It sold for $27,500.