Lot: 182

Enthroned male figure from the "Treasure of the Saléfoué", before 1910

Côte d'Ivoire, Baule

Provenance Size Hammer price
Trésor des Saléfoué, Ivory Coast (prior to 1910)
Joseph Cornet, French Administrative Official
Louis Pieter Cornelis (Lode) van Rijn, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Galerie Kephri), 1970's
Walter Kaiser, Stuttgart, Germany
Manfred Pütz, Cologne, Germany (1974)
H: 15 inch 38000 EUR

wood, rich blackish brown patina, clear cut facial features adorned with symmetrically arranged scarification marks, coiffure, incised decor (base) and the small stool especially fine worked, slightly dam., cracks (right side of the head, stomach), insect caused missing parts (above all on the left side of the body: base/shank/beard/ear). This object is a hitherto unknown figure from the "Treasure of Saléfoué" which was in German private ownership for many decades. According to an article published by Maurice Ratton in 1960 (La Vitrine, no. 2, pp. 4-7), this "treasure" once comprised of thirteen figures, all representations of dignitaries of the "Saléfoué" society. The "Saléfoué", a subgroup of the Baule, rebelled against the French colonial power under the leadership of Boni N'Diole. The "Treasure of Saléfoué" was finally handed over to the administrative official Joseph Cornet as a sign of submission to the French rule in 1910. The objects were subsequently scattered to the winds. One of the figures, a bearded dignitary, was published in 1973 by Schädler (African Art in German Private Collections, ill. 123) and is now in the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum. The facial features of both figures, including the scarifications and the composition of hairstyle and beard, the shape of the body and posture, as well as the shortened arms and fine ornamental design of the base are similar and allows one to come to the conclusion that both figures come from the same carver, or the same workshop.

Maurice Ratton, Le Trésor des Salefoués, in: La Vitrine 2 (1960), p. 4-7 Schädler, Karl-Ferdinand, Afrikanische Kunst in Deutschen Privatsammlungen, München 1973, p. 98, ill. 123 (AHDRC 0059467)
African Arts 2 (1979), Vol. XII, p. 88