Early Books on Polynesian Art, Archaeology and Society to Highlight Bonhams November Auction of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art

Bonhams is pleased to announce the fall auction of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art on November 11, 2010. The New York sale will offer a diverse group of unique and traditional works from Africa, Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Indonesia and Australia, created in the early 20th Century as well as pieces from Central and South America that were created prior to 16th Century. Items of note will include pieces from important estates and private collections from around the globe.

Leading the fall offering is a selection of books and manuscripts formally in the collection of noted author of Hawaiian history and culture, John Dominis Holt. Of Hawaiian descent, Holt lived, worked and studied in Hawaii. He was a supporter of local writers and culture. His 1964 essay, “On Being Hawaiian,” is credited with the igniting the renaissance in Hawaiian language, culture and the arts. He was a trustee of the Bishop Museum, now the State Museum of Cultural and Natural History, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Highlights related to John Dominis Holt include a selection of 32 rare and early books and periodicals from the early 20th century on the study of Polynesian Art, including official archaeological surveys of Hawaii and early Hawaiian Historical Society records as well as illustrated volumes on old Hawaiian wood carvings from the Forbes Caves; rare Bishop Museum Bulletins on Polynesia, Samoa and Manahiki; highly sought after Kraus Reprints from 1974 and books on Hawaiian feather work, mat and basket weaving, dating back to 1899 (estimates vary).

Additional works of note from the sale include an elegant Niue club with contemporary, modern lines and handwritten notations by ethnographer, Augustin Kramer. The only Kramer object to appear at auction in recent years, the piece is expected to bring $12,000-18,000.

Other highlights will include a rare hand carved wooden Pere Trumpet from the Congo, formally in the collection of noted Collector William “Willy” Mestach (est. $3,000 – 5,000); a set of 25 gram, 4 ½ -inch, gold Colombian earrings (est. $15,000-20,000) and a previously unknown dry point etching of early Hawaiian life, commissioned by Anna Rice Cooke, founder of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, titled Kapa Hana (est. $2,000-3,000) as well as a strong selection of highly collectible stone Mezcala figures field-collected in the early 1960’s by noted Los Angeles archeologist Contance McCormick-Fearing.

The illustrated auction catalogue will be available online at www.bonhams.com/newyork in the weeks preceding the preview and auction. For more information about the department, please visit www.bonhams.com/tribal.

Los Angeles Highlight Preview: October 29-30, Los Angeles (select works only)

New York Preview: November 6-10, 2010, New York (full catalogue)

Auction: November 11, 2010, New York


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