Forbes wants you to know that Tribal art is undervalued and has a long pedigree in America and Paris:
Americans who traveled to Paris began collecting African art in the 1920s and ’30s. Among them were Helena Rubinstein and Vanity Fair editor Frank Crowninshield. Many of Crowninshield’s pieces were acquired in the ’40s by sculptor Chaim Gross, whose collection doubled its high estimate of $10.5 million at Sotheby’s last May. In the ’60s African-art galleries popped up along Madison Avenue and the most prominent collectors were Americans, including Nelson Rockefeller. Today’s collectors are split between the U.S. and Europe, with Paris claiming the highest concentration of specialized galleries (as well as the major shows this month).
Most true aficionados enter the market for the art’s visual, rather than anthropological, appeal. “I’m an aesthetic, not an academic. I collect for beauty,” says Chicago dealer Douglas Dawson, who specializes in 18th- and 19th-century African ceramics that sell for $2,000 to $20,000. Dealers generally consider ceramics undervalued, along with bronzes from Niger, west coast ivories, and Nigerian sculpture, though Belgian dealer Bernard de Grunne brought a rare group of 28 life-size Igbo sculptures from Nigeria to Maastricht in March, selling at up to $400,000. He quickly sold seven of his top pieces.
At Auction (Forbes)