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Auction: Tribal Treasures & Unique Historical Drawings of Aboriginals

March 11, 2017 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Theodore Bruce Auctions is delighted to offer for sale a fascinating range of tribal artefacts from the Pacific as well as a superb collection of Aboriginal art, much of which is to be sold on an unreserved basis. The sale includes shields, masks, figures, weapons and jewellery from Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Fiji, as well as some items from Africa.

The Aboriginal segment of the auction includes wonderful paintings by contemporary female super-stars such as Minnie Pwerle; Emily Kngwarreye and Kathleen Petyarre, as well as some of the very first renderings of Aboriginal people in two early 19th century drawings that are connected with French explorer, Nicolas Baudin and his 1802 expedition to Australia. The three Minnie Pwere’s on offer are all huge and stunning paintings – the biggest (Lot 250) being over three meters, the other two slightly smaller (Lots 270 and 272). These works were all commissioned by the vendor who lived and worked in Alice Springs for the Department of Justice in the early 2000’s. While these works are modestly priced from $6,000 up there are also many beautiful Aboriginal works priced from under one hundred dollars.

The drawings of Aboriginals by an artist unknown (Lot 254 and 255) are unique and fascinating works that are being offered by a vendor from Versailles. Some mystery surrounds the piece as it is not by either of the Baudin Expedition’s two official artists, Nicolas Petit or Charles Alexandre Lesseur. The connection, however, is pretty evident as plates from the official record of Baudin’s famous voyage (reproduced in the catalogue) make clear. Just exactly what that connection is still remains a mystery and awaits a dedicated researcher to resolve. Lot 254 is on offer with estimates of $12,000 to $16,000.

A significant proportion (lots 130 – 189) of the New Guinea artefacts are from the Robin Hodgson Collection. Hodgson lived and worked in PNG from the 1960’s to 2003, establishing and running the Melanesian Art Centre in Lae for many years. The highlight of this collection is Lot 157, a magnificent life sized Orator’s Stool, which was used as the centre piece for debates in the Men’s Haus that dominate the cultural life of Sepik River villages. The orator would stand next to the stool and strike the seat base with a bound bunch of leaves called a tanget to emphasis the points of his argument. When finished he would leave the tanget on the Orator’s Stool for the next man to wield during his oration. This work was collected in 1971 as the famous Kanganaman Haus Tambaran just prior to its rebuild as a piece of National Cultural Heritage. The estimate for this piece is $25,000 to $35,000, although there are many Lots which have low end estimates from $100. Most pieces are again unreserved.

Jim Elmslie, Theodore Bruce’s Aboriginal and Oceanic Art Specialist said “we are very pleased to be able to offer such a wide range of works, from significant historical pieces to more contemporary decorative works that would suit any budget. This is a particularly good auction for people who might be interested in learning more about tribal artefacts and gives them the opportunity to see and feel a broad spectrum of genres from different time periods and countries. Viewing is highly recommended.”

Auction: Sunday March 12 at 11.00 am at our rooms.


Online now at: www.theodorebruce.com.au and in our rooms on Friday March 10 and Saturday March 11, 10.00 am to 4pm

Theodore Bruce Auctions

6 Ralph Street, Alexandria, 2015, NSW.

Theodore Bruce Auctions Specialist: Jim Elmslie 0407 913 870

Administrator: Kathleen Roberts 02 8212 4100



March 11, 2017
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
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