Sotheby’s – Masterpieces of African Art from the Collection of the Late Werner Muensterberger

March 9th, 2012 by

Born in Dortmund, Germany, Werner Muensterberger (1913-2011) started collecting African art as a teenager, inspired to do so by his godfather, the renowned collector Baron Eduard von der Heydt.  Muensterberger held three PhDs, in psychiatry, anthropology, and art history, and specialized in psychoanalytic anthropology.  He was the author of several important early publications on African, Oceanic, and Native American art, including The Sculpture of Primitive Man (1955) and Universality of Tribal Art (1979); as well as Collecting: An Unruly Passion (1995), examining the psychology of the collector.  The auction features a small group of masterpieces acquired during a lifetime of collecting.  The sale is led by Muensterberger’s iconic Luluwa Helmet Mask, famous for its superb quality and monumental scale (estimate $1.5-2.5 million).