PHILADELPHIA – An important artwork by Prince Twins Seven-Seven (Nigerian, 1944-2011) not only co-headlines Material Culture’s 450-lot Oct. 14 auction, it also inspired the event’s title: “The Spirits of My Reincarnation Brothers and Sisters.”
Deeply mystical and immediately identifiable, the works of Prince Twins Seven-Seven have spurred a new level of interest in the marketplace since Material Culture offered several exciting multimedia paintings by the artist in their May 5 auction debut. The self-taught Prince Twins Seven-Seven expressed his boundless imagination in themes that blended esoteric imagery with a vibrant, traditional West African color palette. The 65 by 58-inch batik dye, watercolor, acrylic and oil-on-cloth painting featured in Material Culture’s Oct. 14 sale was purchased directly from the artist in 2007 and is one of seven of his works entered in the sale. It is expected to realize $5,000-$7,000.
Other self-taught artists represented in the October offering include Vojislav Jakic, Kwame Akoto a k a Almighty God, Purvis Young and Felipe Jesus Consalvos, a Cuban-American (1891-1960) who worked as a cigar roller but whose natural talent as an artist was not widely known until after his death. Consalvos created visually stunning modernist collages that incorporate cigar bands and cigar-box paper with photographs, postage stamps and magazine images. His mixed-media collage titled “Let Dreams Come True” was created around the second quarter of the 20th century. It measures 10 x 8 inches (15¾ x 13¾ inches framed) and comes with provenance from the Fleisher/Ollman Gallery. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000.
The auction will showcase a selection of items from the Bill Liske collection of early Chinese and Tibetan textiles, carpets and ethnographic artworks. Material Culture’s first offering of articles from the Liske collection – auctioned on May 26 – was enthusiastically received, said owner George Jevremovic, a cultural arts dealer of 30+ years.
“The Liske collection is special because it reflects the impeccable eye of a collector who lived and worked as a mountaineering guide in the Himalayan region for three decades. Textile dealers in the area taught him how to identify pieces that were genuinely exceptional,” said Jevremovic.
Liske’s expertly chosen collection has appeared at the History Museum in Denver, the Krimsa Gallery in San Francisco, the Shaver-Ramsey Gallery in Denver, and in Hali magazine.
A premier artwork in the Liske collection is a powerfully rendered early Thangka scroll painting depicting the deific reincarnation known as Vajra Varahi in Sanskrit and Dorje Pakmo in Tibetan. Dating to 14th-16th century Tibet, it is valued at $3,000-$4,000.
Another auction highlight is the Michaelian Meshed (31 feet by 47 feet), a circa-1900 Persian carpet originally custom-woven for the prestigious Union League Club in New York City. It remained in the club for decades until its purchase in the 1950s by Frank Michaelian of Michaelian and Kohlberg. Suitable for a discriminating owner with a palatial space, it will be offered for sale publicly for the first time in its history on Oct. 14, with an auction estimate of $60,000-$90,000.
An outstanding 19th-century Syrian silk and gold judge’s tunic from the collection of Samy and Sara Rabinovic, Philadelphia, was the blue-ribbon exhibition winner at the 1996 International Conference on Oriental Carpets, and is expected to fetch $3,000-$4,000. Also up for auction is a rare pre-Columbian funerary headband made with a knotted-pile technique, valued at $1,000-$1,500; and a 19th-century Tibtetan or Bhutanese bull-headed Buddhist dance mask of meditational deity Yamantaka. The mask’s vivid red hue was achieved by applying pigment to a papier-mâché of laurel or mulberry. Estimate: $3,000-$4,000.
Other categories of artifacts include an outstanding group of 17th-18th century Mughal columns and arches from northern India, 16th- to 19th-century Ottoman, Central Asian, Asian, African, Continental and pre-Columbian textiles, 17th-19th century Oriental Carpets, African, Himalayan and Oceanic Tribal Arts, antiquities from the Near East, Americas and Asia; 18th- to 20th-century folk art from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas; and 100+ lots of vintage Navajo jewelry from a private Pennsylvania collection assembled in the 1970s.
“From the beginning it has been our goal to present pieces of diverse origin that would present collecting opportunities for every level of buyer, from beginners to advanced collectors and interior designers. In addition, we take the position that it is better to have around 400 items of very good to excellent quality – from consignors who have realistic expectations – than to create a more-specialized sale with a few stars and lots of filler,” said Jevremovic, explaining his company’s mission.
“This is an age in which corporate auction departments seek to maximize their bottom lines with million-plus-dollar items or high-profile sales that have more to do with celebrity and fashion than quality or connoisseurship. We believe some of the best collecting opportunities – particularly for younger buyers worldwide – exist in the areas we are presenting in our October 14th sale: self-taught, folk, ethnographic, decorative and traditional arts,” Jevremovic said.
Material Culture’s Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 auction will commence at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Preview: Oct. 10-12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The gallery is located at 4700 Wissahickon Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19144. All forms of bidding will be available, including phone, absentee or Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com. For additional information on any lot in the sale, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-438-4700. Visit the company online at www.materialculture.com.