Bonhams to auction Art of the South Seas in San Francisco on February 10

. January 12, 2013

Bonhams announce its second-ever annual sale solely devoted to Art of the South Seas, February 10 in San Francisco. The auction will include fresh-to-the-market Polynesian, Micronesian, Melanesian, Indonesian and Australian works of art made for use by those within their respective cultures.

Highlights of the auction will include an important and rare Rarotonga pole club (‘akatara) of the Cook Islands, carved from the heart (taiki) of the toa (ironwood) tree. Such clubs were likely created for chiefs or other members of high status within the society. This more than 7-foot-tall club is estimated to bring $100,000-150,000. It was acquired at a London auction in 1990, and was formerly in the James Hooper Collection.

Also notable in the auction will be a full-size breadfruit wood canoe and bailer from the Marshall Islands’ Namorik Atoll, estimated at $8,000-12,000. Canoes from this very remote atoll ceased to have been made before the Second World War. This example once belonged to Joseph E. Kennedy of Hawaii. Mr. Kennedy, who hung the canoe in his Pupukea, Hawaii home, was a Hawaiian archeologist, well-known and respected as the principal of Archeological Consultants of Hawaii, and later, Archeological Consultants of the Pacific. He conducted archeological research in American Samoa and in Micronesia, and he participated in excavations in Guatemala and Egypt.

A Marquesas Islands Club, ‘u’u, is also of particular note in the sale. Estimated at $30,000– 40,000, these ‘u’u clubs were a Marquesan warrior’s most prized possession. They served as both a weapon in close contact and as a mark of high status within the society.

Highlights continue with a rare Austral Islands spear, estimated at $25,000-35,000, being offered by a private collector who acquired it at auction in London in 1992; a selection of works from the renowned Leo Fortess Collection of Hawaii; and additional important private collections.

The auction’s illustrated catalog will be available online in the weeks preceding it, for review and purchase at www.bonhams.com.

Auction Preview: February 8-10, San Francisco
Auction: February 10, San Francisco

Category: Fine Art

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