Lot: 195

94th Tribal Art Auction

Janiform magical figure "kabeja"

D. R. Congo, Northern Shaba Region, Maniema Area, Hemba

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Georges Frederick Keller (1899-1981), Paris, France
Paolo Morigi, Magliaso-Lugano, Switzerland
Walter Stanley Schwab, Murten, Switzerland ("WS 212") (1980)
H: 9.3 inch 1500 EUR
plus 23 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, pigments, sacrificial traces, magical mass in in the vertex preserved, inventory nr. "74299", base Keller began his career as a modern art dealer in Paris in the 1920s and in 1930 took over the running of the Georges Petit gallery. It is from this period that his collaboration with Dali dates, a collaboration that was to continue until 1963. He became a partner in New York's Bignou Gallery Inc. in 1936 before joining forces with Roland Balay to open the Carstairs Gallery, which he managed from 1949 to 1963. He was passionate about African art, acquiring his first sculpture at the age of nineteen. In 1931, he was appointed as a valuer alongside Charles Ratton and Louis Carré for the sale of the André Breton and Paul Eluard Collections (Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 2/3 July 1931), a sale now looked back on as an historic event. African art gradually became his main interest and in 1951 he entrusted his collection of modern art to the Fine Arts Museum of Berne, in order to live surrounded only by his African sculptures. In 1980, the Berne Museum exhibited some 300 works collected by Keller under the title "Art of Africa and Oceania - an unknown private collection". He invited his young friend Paolo Morigi to catalogue the exhibition, later, this collection was donated to Morigi.