On November 24, 2021, PIASA will present its second sale of the year dedicated to the African continent and its related scenes.
This sale will count several sections: the first section will feature works from the collection of Maine Durieu, a collector, gallerist and artist, niece of celebrated French sculptor Germaine Richier, and who passed away in 2015. Another section will be devoted to the masters and rising stars of contemporary African art: with works from the School of Dakar, Bili Bidjocka, Abdoulaye Konaté, Yinka Shonibare, Billie Zangewa, Mario Benjamin… PIASA is also honoured to partner with the Moleskine Foundation and curator Simon Njami for an exceptional charity sale to benefit the Foundation’s educational programs in Africa and beyond. With works by Theo Eshetu, Mwangi Hutter, Donna Kukama, Maurice Pefura and Andrew Tshabangu.
THE MAINE DURIEU COLLECTION
Lot 22: Ernestine Meledge dite Tina (born 1961, Côte d’Ivoire), Untitled, circa 1980s. Acrylic, fabric and collage on canvas. Signed TINA twice on the bottom, on the back. 140 x 80cm. Estimate: 15 000 / 20 000 €
Among the works presented will be an exceptional ensemble from Côte d’Ivoire and beyond, assembled by the collector, gallerist and artist Maine Durieu, niece of sculptor Germaine Richier. The works presented in this collection are the result of more than forty years of friendship with artists, which began in the 1970s when Maine Durieu settled in Abidjan, where she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts.
We note the presence of rare works by Martinique artists Louis Laouchez and Serge Hélénon, teachers of Maine Durieu at the School of Fine Arts, founders of the movement Négro-Caraïbe, as well as their students Théodore Koudougnon, N’Guessan Kra, but also Ernestine (Tina) Meledge, one of the few women painters in West Africa recognized for her work in abstraction at the time. They will become the leaders of the Vohou Vohou group, an Ivorian response to the iconic School of Dakar several years earlier. The selected works are a rare testimony, from the point of view of art history, of a Côte d’Ivoire in the midst of an economic miracle thanks to a coffee and cocoa boom, a place some called in the 1980s, Little Paris or The Japan of Africa.
Lot 16: Zéphirin Kouassi dit Zéphirin (1955-1991, Côte d’Ivoire), Untitled (Pont Charles de Gaulle), 1982. Acrylic on canvas. Signed «Zephirin 82» on the bottom right. 50 x 69cm. Estimate: 3 000 / 5 000 €
Beyond the confines of academicism, we count a wonderful example of architectural sculpture by Aboudramane Doumbouya, whose works were exhibited in 1993 alongside those of the Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez, at the Museum of African Art in New York, under the direction of Susan Vogel. The collection also includes an exceptional group, both in number and quality, of naïve style paintings by Losséni, and the genius of the painter Zéphirin, poet of the bridges and skyscrapers of Abidjan, represented here by an exceptional view of the Charles de Gaulle Bridge, dated 1982.
On the Congo side, we note the presence of four important watercolours by Albert Lubaki, whose rare works are well known to lovers of the art from the region. The Maine Durieu Collection, with the exception of the four Lubaki works, will be sold without reserve as a tribute to Maine Durieu’s generosity and commitment to sharing.
Lot 25: Théodore Koudougnon (né en 1951, Côte d’Ivoire), Empreinte Africaine 8. Technique mixte sur toile, 109 x 90cm.
PIASA x MOLESKINE
For the November 24 sale, PIASA is pleased to partner with the Milan-based Moleskine Foundation and curator Simon Njami for an exceptional charity sale. Featuring works by Theo Eshetu, Mwangi Hutter, Donna Kukama, Maurice Pefura and Andrew Tshabangu. To underline our commitment to supporting the entire art ecosystem, 50% of sales will go to the artists, and 50% will go to the Foundation’s educational programs for young creative minds in disadvantaged communities in Africa and internationally. PIASA will not take any commission on the sales, as a contribution to the Moleskine Foundation’s initiative and mission: To make creativity a driving force for social change.
Lot 02A: Andrew Tshabangu (born 1966, South Africa), Rearview Mirror from the City in Transition series, 2004. Silver print, Special edition of 3, ‘The Evidence of Things’, curated by Simon Njami. 80 x 120cm. Estimate: 3 000 / 5 000 €
MASTERS AND RISING STARS OF CONTEMPORARY ART
The sale will also be an opportunity to discover a selection of works by some of the most emblematic contemporary artists of the African scene, as well as promising up and coming talents.
A section dedicated to the School of Dakar, with a rare drawing by Bocar Pathé Diong, dated 1965, prefigures the World Festival of Black Arts, which took place with great fanfare in Dakar in 1966; but also works by M’Baye Diop, a lyricist of form, an exceptional work of poetry signed Léopold Sédar Senghor and illustrated with original engravings by the French surrealist master André Masson, a successful dialogue under the sign of the arts between Africa and Europe. This edition comes with an exceptional provenance, from the family of Léopold Sédar Senghor.
Lot 78: Bocar Pathé Diong (1946-1989, Senegal), Untitled, 1965. Gouache on paper. Signed and dated BOCAR DIONG 65 on the bottom right. 64,5 x 49,5cm. Provenance: Private collection, Sénégal. Estimate: 7 000 / 10 000 €
For the first time in the secondary market, a major work by the Franco-Cameroonian artist Bili Bidjocka (born 1962) will be offered for sale. The cover lot of our sale, Intentions (Inferno) is an important collaborative work from one of Africa’s most celebrated conceptual artists, embellished via a meticulous work of delicate beadwork, conceived and produced between 2014-2018 on the occasion of the iconic touring exhibition The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists. The exhibition, curated by Simon Njami, was presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Frankfurt and the Smithsonian Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. Bili Bidjocka is famous for his performances and installations presented in numerous bienniales including the Havana Biennale in 1997, the Venice Biennale in 2007 and the Dakar Biennale in 2016.
Lot 69: Bili Bidjocka (born 1962, Cameroon), Intentions (Inferno),2014-2018. Mixed media and beading on canvas, in three parts, 279,5 x 150cm (each), 279,5 x 450cm (overall). Estimate: 80 000 / 100 000 €
Among the masters, we also note a major work of the Malian master Abdoulaye Konaté, an artist selected in 2017 for the Venice Biennale; an important photograph by the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, whose work around reframing outdated, Eurocentric views of art history (here, revisiting Swan Lake) using the bright colours of Dutch wax fabric, has been exhibited around the world; a rare drawing by Ouattara Watts, Ivorian artist close to Basquiat, who has been living in the United States since the 1980s.
Lot 102: Serge Attukwei Clottey (born 1985, Ghana), Ghana’s Millennium Cloth, 2016. Mixed media on plastic container, 83 x 96,5cm. Estimate: 6 000 / 8 000 €
The rising stars of the African scene are also present, with the Ghanaian Serge Attukwei Clottey, whose latest auction results have reached records, a tapestry with gold thread by South African wonder Athi-Patra Ruga, a rare composition with an urban landscape on silk by Billie Zangewa, but also two works from the iconic series Ça va aller by photographer Joana Choumali, winner of the Pictet Prize in 2019. Laurence Lemaoana (b. 1982, South Africa) is also present with Real Power, first exhibited as part of the major retrospective dedicated to South Africa at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, in 2017.
Lot 100: Billie Zangewa (born 1973, Malawi/South Africa), Lazy Haze, 2013. Silk tapestry. Signed Billie within the composition, 69 x 34cm. Estimate : 12 000 / 15 000 €
Lot 126: Lawrence Lemaoana (born 1982, South Africa), Real Power, 2017. Broderie on Kanga fabric. Signed and dated LL 2017, 157 x 117cm. Estimate: 7 000 / 10 000 €
Our selection of three generations of Haitian artists, with Henri-Robert Brésil’s poetic landscapes with pink flamingoes, a modernist still life by Luce Turnier, and a Cubist-inspired head by Mario Benjamin, echoing Picasso, illustrates the complexity of the artistic traditions of this Caribbean island, whose historical and cultural influence remains so important even today.