The Heijs-Voorhuis collection (part 2)

Final chord for a moving collection history – Timed Online Auction on February 28th, 2023

Consulting the Oracle. The Ketu carver of this rare, stage scene representation has great narrative talent: the tension of the figures at the moment of questioningimm is full of expectation, even before the consecrated palm nuts are thrown several times.
Ifa oracles have been recognized as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2005 and were included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008.

After the successful November auction with around 60 Yoruba works, around one hundred, very carefully selected ritual objects and utensils from the Ursula Heijs-Voorhuis collection will now be auctioned in a second, conclusive part. They give a wonderful insight into the material culture of the Yoruba and their neighbouring societies, and show once again how much artistic attention was paid to everyday objects.

The door panel of the Nupe comes from the circle of the master Sakiwa of Lapai. According to Frobenius, the representative art of the Nupe disappeared after their Islamization around 1830, but it continued in the carving of door panels, especially in Lapai (Abuja Emirate), where carvers from the artist's circle continued the old carving tradition in a very inventive way.

Three artistically completely different, but equally impressive works compete for the viewer's attention. From the Yoruba, a sculpturally extremely expressively designed deformation mask, as appreciated by the artists of the avant-garde. From the Ibibio-Anang, a colourfully accentuated and thus high-contrast lively 'ekpo' face mask. On the other hand, the fine, naturalistic aesthetics, represent the work of an Idoma master: an anthropomorphic headpiece measuring just 32 cm with a pronounced delicate effect.

More about the collection and collector Ursula Heijs-Voorhuis, who was one of the first, maybe even the first gallery owner in the Netherlands for non-European art in a male-dominated tribal art market in the early 1970s: read at News 2022-10-24


The online catalogue can be viewed here.

End of auction:
Tuesday, February 28, 2023

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