By Nii B. Andrews.

From time to time while leafing through either old or recent art magazines; art books or exhibition and auction catalogs; you come across an art piece that just simply takes your breath away.

It often happens when looking at classic/traditional African sculpture of which most of the best pieces are located outside the continent.

This piece is from the Marceau Riviere Collection which will be auctioned at Sotheby’s Paris this month.

MANI STATUE: Probably made by a brilliant Zande artist from the Ubangui region (now DRC); wood, metal, encrustations; height 26.5 cm; Marceau Riviere Collection. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s catalog.

The figure has monumental volumes executed with pure minimalist sculptural elan; a superlative finesse.

This artist has reconfigured the human form to “bring out the unknown rather than ordering the known”.

The result is an ultramodern/avant-garde figure that breaks new ground – pushes the envelope; transcends the traditional canon and provides a universal aesthetic anchored in profound sophistication and grace.

What is important is that the traditional African community in which the sculptor created the figure, knew its tremendous artistic value; they valued it highly. 

The evidence is the encrusted patina that records for posterity the premium that they placed on the statue.

Its pre auction estimate is USD 204 000 – 285 000.

Now, where is money when you need it? I have no doubt that Kpakpo Okantey will have a colorful and appropriate answer.

Have an artsy weekend folks!

6 thoughts on “A ZANDE MASTERPIECE.”

  1. Breathtaking indeed!
    “Shorty has it going on”!
    Any thoughts on the function of this piece at the time it was made?

    1. Difficult to say specifically. And will resist the cliché of calling it “an ancestor figure” or “divination piece” or “spirit wife”.

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