Dear African Art Club readers.
The email from yesterday,”Contradictions in the African Antiques World“, clearly is an important subject, since it had the biggest open rate from all the messages I have send till know (55% opened email rate).
You can read it again, together with the comments of other members, and see this 50 minutes long video telling the story of an African runner from Cameroon and more here :
The main contradiction I see is not the fact, like someone commented, that Africans would get a lower price for there objects than in a gallery, NO because the objects you see at the galleries, are often vetted objects with a long past story, often with a documented provenance, and chosen by dealers with tens of year of experience, who studied the antique African Art objects, and selected them on there real age, beauty and provenance.
I also know African dealers coming from Africa who have good objects, and they often ask the same price a European dealer would ask me. But they are exceptions, most of the runners who show me objects, just have only copies with them. The real contradiction, is that African runners, often don’t know or pretend not to know if what they are selling is old or not, and as the title of the movie said ” Je ne suis pas moi-même”, ” I am not myself”, tells they are not selling what they pretend to sell, being “genuine and old” antiquities, and are behaving towards the clients in the western world in a different way, then when they are speaking to the African people who they are buying from. How is it possible that the Africans don’t know there own culture, and aren’t able to recognize if the objects they sell are genuine antiquities or not? But they do know what kind of patina will be able to sell to the small western collectors, and what restoration should be done to make the object “saleable”. I would not dare to ask 3,000€ for a mask I know was made yesterday and say it is hundred years old, but I guess it is part of the game, since the lady in the movie, propose to exchange it for a “white gold watch” that I guessed isn’t also in gold.
I WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY 2013 !!
P.S.: FAIR Warning if you did not yet joined , in +/- 24 hours I will increase the African Art Club Entrance Fee with between 20% to 60%, did not yet decided on the exact price point . I have many good ideas for the year to come for my members to help you increase your knowledge on what is genuine and what is not, where to buy and sell African art, and not to miss exhibitions, Fairs, and other members special deals, I was even thinking on maybe doing some online vetted auction, to help you sell genuine African Art. So this is your last chance to join at 10 euros a month