Just as Autry’s Southwest Museum of the American Indian in Los Angeles is devoting an exhibition to Katsina dolls, until 1 December 2013, the Paris auction house Néret-Minet is dispersing 70 Katsina masks at Paris-Drouot. These ritual objects belong to the collection of an enthusiast of the Hopi culture, who lived in America for thirty years, and was privileged enough to attend the ceremonies of these Indians. The Hopi, living in Arizona in south-west America, carved wooden effigies of spirits that appear to them for six months of the year during ceremonies held from February to July. In these, dancers don masks and paint their bodies with codified patterns and colours, each embodying a spirit from the Hopi pantheon. The dancers disappear behind the costumes and symbolic movements: genuine incantations designed to make the spirits of the earth appear. The ritual dance then becomes metaphysical. Through the dancers transfigured into supernatural spirits, playing their roles of intercessors and messengers, the cycle of nature and life is repeated without interruption: rain falls, and the sun rises. Once the rite is complete, the Katsina dolls are there to remind the Hopi of the spirits each characteristic typical of the divinities whose names they bear, these statuettes, given to the women and children, are carefully preserved in people's homes, where they are used as aids for religious education. The youngest children are thus initiated into the Katsina cult during Powamuya (equivalent to February), the month dedicated to purification, overseen by the twin sons of the "Crow Mother", Angwusnasomtaqa. One of them, Hú the "Whipper Katsina", will be represented in this sale by a mask with protuberant eyes and horns (€6,000/8,000). His mother will undoubtedly be the highlight of the collection, with her helmet mask dating from the 1880s: a turquoise leather headdress flanked by two spread crow's wings. This spectacular piece is estimated at between €40,000 and 50,000.
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Will the latest Salon do better than the previous ones? It's hard to say, especially in an economic downturn. But the Paris fair has succeeded in setting the bar ever higher over the years. In 2012, the professionals unanimously acclaimed a positive result, marked by a higher attendance rate, good sales, and the return of American buyers, while the presence of representatives from the top museums confirmed the excellence of the works on offer.
TEFAF 2013 report: the world's most famous non-specialist art fair suffers from bad weather this year.
The first major retrospective of an auction room star since the 1980 show in New York, the Eileen Gray exhibition at the Centre Pompidou fulfils all its promises.
Greek billionaire George Economou has given a new dimension to his collection by creating an art centre, with a programme focused firmly on contemporary art
Clémence d’Ennery's passion inspired a collection of Far Eastern art that became a life's work, together with the mansion housing it.
The Howard Greenberg collection is exposed to Paris (photography and digital video capital).
April 2013 Edition
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