Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Around the World




MGM Casino Macau

Lake Tahoe

Rockefeller Center New York City


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas cards 2013

Our young designers Samantha and Valerie did a great job on this year's Christmas cards. In fact instead of one they gave me four. I have decided to post all of them and let you make the choice. Our special thanks go to Valerie for her wizardry with Photoshop. All of us at ArtTrak wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  JB

1.Christmas tree

2. Night Sky

3. North Pole

4. Red Christmas Balls

Friday, December 13, 2013

Introducing our New Intern - Valerie Thompson - Christmas 2013

Hi, I’m Valerie. I am a college senior attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and when I graduate in May I will have a degree in Journalism with minors in both Studio Art and French. While I was born in Dallas to two American parents, I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia – where my father moved for work, and where I spent most of my life until I went away to college. During high school, I was fortunate enough to spend time in several different countries, including India, France and Canada on cultural and linguistic student exchange programs as well as participating in a weeklong service project at an Aboriginal community in northern South Australia. My keen interest in travel and other cultures has continued throughout college, and I spent this past summer studying abroad, taking photography and culture classes in Bali, Indonesia. Having had a passion for photography and further developing this during my college years, I hope to continue practicing and honing my skills after graduation.

Introducing our New Intern - Samantha Mason - Christmas 2013

Samantha Mason has been selected as an intern at ArtTrak for the spring of 2014. She is currently a senior at the University of Dallas working towards her degree in Business Leadership. During Samantha’s high school years she took Art I-IV, an AP senior art class and participated in several art competitions. Samantha was on track to pursue a major in Art and Art History at the University of Dallas, but an interest in business shifted her interests at the last minute in that direction. Throughout her college years, Samantha has been involved in many extracurricular activities such as Division III Women’s Lacrosse, multiple on-campus clubs, and a few intern positions on and off campus. She spent a semester abroad in Rome, Italy where she was able to experience a diversity of cultures as well as study Roman and Greek art and architecture. As an intern at ArtTrak, Samantha looks forward to being able to pursue her passion for the arts and business through the understanding of  how  the gallery operates in the sale, appraisal, and authentication of art.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Drones for Christmas

This week Jeff Bezos announced Amazon might be delivering your packages to your door via drones. This summer drones were used in Peru to monitor archaeological sites. Clancy has added bug size drones to his spy stories and civil libertarians are speculating about the loss of privacy. Forget about it this door will never be shut and I guess that's both good and ad. 

(Reuters) - "In Peru, home to the spectacular Inca city of Machu Picchu and thousands of ancient ruins, archaeologists are turning to drones to speed up sluggish survey work and protect sites from squatters, builders and miners.
Remote-controlled aircraft were developed for military purposes and are a controversial tool in U.S. anti-terrorism campaigns, but the technology's falling price means it is increasingly used for civilian and commercial projects around the world.
Small drones have been helping a growing number of researchers produce three-dimensional models of Peruvian sites instead of the usual flat maps - and in days and weeks instead of months and years.
Speed is an important ally to archaeologists here. Peru's economy has grown at an average annual clip of 6.5 percent over the past decade, and development pressures have surpassed looting as the main threat to the country's cultural treasures, according to the government.
Researchers are still picking up the pieces after a pyramid near Lima, believed to have been built some 5,000 years ago by a fire-revering coastal society, was razed in July by construction firms. That same month, residents of a town near the pre-Incan ruins of Yanamarca reported that informal miners were damaging the three-story stone structures as they dug for quartz.
And squatters and farmers repeatedly try to seize land near important sites like Chan Chan on the northern coast, considered the biggest adobe city in the world.
Archaeologists say drones can help set boundaries to protect sites, watch over them and monitor threats, and create a digital repository of ruins that can help build awareness and aid in the reconstruction of any damage done.
"We see them as a vital tool for conservation," said Ana Maria Hoyle, an archaeologist with the Culture Ministry.
Hoyle said the government plans to buy several drones to use at different sites, and that the technology will help the ministry comply with a new, business-friendly law that has tightened the deadline for determining whether land slated for development might contain cultural artifacts.
Commercial drones made by the Swiss company senseFly and the U.S. firms Aurora Flight Sciences and Helicopter World have all flown Peruvian skies.
Drones are already saving archaeologists time in mapping sites - a crucial but often slow first step before major excavation work can begin. Mapping typically involves tedious ground-level
observations with theodolites or pen and paper.
"With this technology, I was able to do in a few days what had taken me years to do," said Luis Jaime Castillo, a Peruvian archaeologist with Lima's Catholic University and an incoming deputy culture minister who plans to use drones to help safeguard Peru's archaeological heritage.
Castillo started using a drone two years ago to explore the San Jose de Moro site, an ancient burial ground encompassing 150 hectares (0.58 square miles) in northwestern Peru, where the discovery of several tombs of priestesses suggests women ruled the coastal Moche civilization.
"We have always wanted to have a bird's-eye view of where we are working," said Castillo.
In the past, researchers have rented crop dusters and strapped cameras to kites and helium-filled balloons, but those methods can be expensive and clumsy. Now they can build drones small enough to hold with two hands for as little as $1,000.
"It's like having a scalpel instead of a club, you can control it to a very fine degree," said Jeffrey Quilter, an archaeologist with Harvard University who has worked at San Jose de Moro and other sites in Peru. "You can go up three meters and photograph a room, 300 meters and photograph a site, or you can go up 3,000 meters and photograph the entire valley."
Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, have flown over at least six different archaeological sites in Peru in the past year, including the colonial Andean town Machu Llacta some 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) above sea level.
Peru is well known for its stunning 15th century Machu Picchu ruins, likely a getaway for Incan royalty that the Spanish were unaware of during their conquest, and the Nazca Lines in southern Peru, which are best seen from above and were mysteriously etched into the desert more than 1,500 years ago.
But archaeologists are just as excited about other chapters of Peru's pre-Hispanic past, like coastal societies that used irrigation in arid valleys, the Wari empire that conquered the Andes long before the Incas, and ancient farmers who appear to have been domesticating crops as early as 10,000 years ago.
With an archaeology budget of around $5 million, the Culture Ministry often struggles to protect Peru's more than 13,000 sites. Only around 2,500 of them have been properly marked off, according to the ministry.
"And when a site is not properly demarcated, it is illegally occupied, destroyed, wiped from the map," said Blanca Alva, an official with the ministry charged with oversight.
Steve Wernke, an archaeologist with Vanderbilt University exploring the shift from Incan to Spanish rule in the Andes, started looking into drones more than two years ago.
He tried out a drone package from a U.S. company that cost around $40,000. But after the small plane had problems flying in the thin air of the Andes, Wernke and his colleague, engineer Julie Adams, teamed up and built two drones for less than $2,000.
The drones continue to have altitude problems in the Andes, and Wernke and Adams now plan to make a drone blimp.
"There is an enormous democratization of the technology happening now," Wernke said, adding that do-it-yourself websites like have helped enthusiasts share information.
"The software that these things are run on is all open-source. None of it is locked behind company patents," he said.
There are some drawbacks to using drones in archaeology. Batteries are big and short-lived, it can take time to learn to work with the sophisticated software and most drones struggle to fly in higher altitudes.
In the United States, broader use of drones has raised privacy and safety concerns that have slowed regulatory approvals. Several states have drafted legislation to restrict their use, and one town has even considered offering rewards to anyone who shoots a drone down.
But in Peru, archaeologists say it is only a matter of time before drones replace decades-old tools still used in their field, and that the technology can and should be used for less destructive uses.
"So much of the technology we use every day comes from warfare," said Hoyle. "It is natural this is happening."
Some of the first aerial images taken of Peru's archaeological sites also have their roots in combat.
The Shippee-Johnson expedition in 1931 was one of several geographic surveys led by U.S. military pilots that emerged from the boom in aerial photography during World War I. It produced reams of images still used by archaeologists today.
After seeing one of those pictures at a museum in New York some 10 years ago, Wernke decided he would study a town designed to impose Spanish culture on the indigenous population in the 1570s. He describes it as "one of the largest forced resettlement programs in history."
"I went up the following year to see it and found the site, and I said, 'OK, that's going to be a great project once I can afford to map it," said Wernke. He said drones have mapped nearly half of his work site. "So it all started with aerial images in the '30s, and now we want to go further with UAVs."

Peruvian archaeologists are using small, remote-controlled aircraft to transform their understanding of sites. Luis Jaime Castillo of Lima’s Catholic University works with Harvard researchers at Cerro Chepén, a mountaintop site inhabited more than 1,200 years ago by the Moche people. The complex site has multiple components arrayed across difficult terrain, with a fortress at the summit and residences on the slopes—a serious challenge to any archaeological mapping effort.
Drone Moche Site Map
(Courtesy San José de Moro Archaeological Project)
Castillo’s team used a small multicopter to take 700,000 low-altitude aerial photos of the site in just 10 minutes, nearly 50 times more than his team had captured with traditional ground-based photography in four dig seasons. Castillo then stitched the images together to create detailed 3-D models. “You can see every wrinkle of the site,” he says. “You can model every single stone.”

Detroit Bankruptcy Update - Christmas 2013

DETROIT—"The most powerful man in the Motor City says he has one regret since driving into town in March."I probably underestimated the level of support and the willingness of the majority of the citizenry to see us move forward," Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said in an interview late last month.
The jury, however, is still out on whether the 55-year-old corporate-bankruptcy attorney from suburban Washington can navigate the city of 700,000 through a bankruptcy reorganization unparalleled in U.S. history.
Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr spoke to reporters after a court ruling allowed the city's bankruptcy to proceed. In an interview before the ruling, he said, "I probably underestimated the level of support and the willingness of the majority of the citizenry to see us move forward." Reuters

More on Detroit's Bankruptcy

To be sure, Mr. Orr and his boss, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, scored a sweeping win Tuesday when U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that Detroit, the largest city to file for municipal bankruptcy, is eligible to reduce its $18 billion in long-term obligations under court protection. Most critically, the judge affirmed Mr. Orr's authority as emergency manager as well as his power to cut future payments to city pension funds, with court approval.
But the judge, in his 143-page opinion, also criticized Mr. Orr.
"At the June 10, 2013, community meeting, Mr. Orr was asked a direct question—what is going to happen to the City employee's pensions?" the judge wrote. "Mr. Orr responded that pension rights are 'sacrosanct' under the state constitution and state case law, misleadingly not stating that upon the City's bankruptcy filing, his position would be quite the opposite."
The judge also found that Mr. Orr misled another questioner when he said in the same June meeting that the city's chances of bankruptcy were 50-50. Mr. Orr, the judge wrote, knew "in fact there was no chance" of avoiding a Chapter 9 filing.
Mr. Orr has acknowledged using the term "sacrosanct" but said he always told people in meetings that all options for the city were on the table. "People have taken that one statement out of line," Mr. Orr said in the interview last month.
There are signs Mr. Orr still thinks his tenure in Detroit will be a short one. He lives out of a hotel and flies home to his family in Maryland on weekends. The only personal effect in his 11th-floor office in city hall is a picture behind his desk of his son's soccer team. He has said that he hopes to complete his work by the fall of 2014.
Detroit's current and incoming mayor have questioned whether Mr. Orr should be managing the bankruptcy

and running the city while Detroit's elected officials remain on the payroll. Mr. Orr has kept many officials,
including Mayor Dave Bing, in their posts but has also hired experts of his own to help manage the city.
"I think I know more about city government than he does, because I've been here 4½ years. He could have utilized what I learned to help him," Mr. Bing said last month, adding that "running city government is not [Mr. Orr's] strength."
In January, Mike Duggan will take over as mayor. Though he has said he is strongly opposed to the emergency-manager law, he is pledging to help Mr. Orr.
"Every turnaround starts when the leaders face reality as it is and not as you wish it to be, and the reality as it is is that the emergency manager is in charge," Mr. Duggan said. "If I'm going to improve city services, I'm going to deal with reality as it is."
So far, Mr. Orr has been welcoming but noncommittal about Mr. Duggan's future role in the city. He declined to say whether he would take the mayor-elect up on an offer to become Mr. Orr's chief operating officer and run the city day to day.
Up next, Mr. Orr and his team are putting potential price tags on the city's assets, including its art collection, and negotiating with creditors in court-ordered mediation. Meanwhile, he continues to try to improve city services.
Since taking office in March, Mr. Orr said crime has dropped, streetlights have been relit, blighted structures razed and millions in public and private dollars collected to lease new police cars and fund small businesses.
Many parts of city government—water, transportation, public lighting, trash pickup and more—could be taken over by authorities and private contractors, officials say. Other capital projects, including a new public-private light-rail system in downtown Detroit and a proposed professional hockey-arena complex, are on track, according to officials.
But Mr. Orr has also drawn some darts for pushing through a long-term lease with the state for the city's premier island park, Belle Isle, and hiring auction house Christie's to value the city-owned collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts for a potential sale. Mr. Orr has said he would prefer not to sell the city's art.
The fate of the city's pension holders has also been a contentious issue. Mr. Orr said in the interview that he is sticking by his estimate that the city owes the pension funds $3.5 billion, with almost no way to pay the bill.
Other challenges ahead for Mr. Orr include gaining court approval for refinancing $350 million in secured debt and raising new money to pay off what the city still owes. Both moves are expected to be opposed by some creditors at court hearings later this month.
But the largest question looming for the city is how Mr. Orr will draft his overall plan to cut the city's long-term obligations and revamp its infrastructure. The plan expected by early January is likely to include $1.25 billion earmarked for reducing crime and eradicating vacant and dangerous structures, which Mr. Orr hopes to complete within three years.
One thing is for certain, according to Mr. Orr: Bankruptcy was the only prescription for the city's ills.
"I think, without a doubt, it was necessary for the city," he said."

Update December 12, 2013

Detroit Institute of Arts officials confirmed Wednesday they’ve met with federal bankruptcy mediators over a plan to safeguard the museum’s art from sale, but some local cultural leaders are concerned that what’s good for the DIA might not be so good for them.

For weeks, Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen has been in talks with local and national foundations about a plan under which they would put up the lion’s share of money, perhaps as much as $500 million, to satisfy Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s demand that the DIA contribute to the city’s path out of bankruptcy.

But in a world with finite resources, local cultural leaders — who express great affection for the city-owned museum — worry that largesse on a scale necessary to rescue the DIA could mean sharply reduced foundation grants for everyone else.

“If the DIA can come up with this grand bargain,” said Vincent Paul, president of the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, “I’ll be the first to toast it. I just don’t want to take a hit from it. There’s just a finite amount of money out there.”

At the Michigan Opera Theatre, founder and general director David DiChiera said if such a fund satisfied Orr’s requirement and the city relinquished ownership as part of any deal, he’d be all for it.

“But we all get support from these foundations,” DiChiera added. “We wouldn’t want to hear they have to reduce their support to us because they made this significant gift to the DIA.”

In a prepared statement Wednesday, the DIA acknowledged it met with mediators on Tuesday and said it would engage in vigorous fundraising to contribute to any fund — one of Orr’s stipulations.

Museum officials declined to comment further. Before the museum was invited into the negotiations last month, director Graham Beal told The Detroit News he applauded Rosen, saying: “It would be wonderful if someone could do something like this.” Rosen was appointed to help mediate the bankruptcy case by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes.

Local foundations reportedly in discussions with Rosen include Kresge, Hudson-Webber, Skillman, Mott, Kellogg and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. National organizations such as the Ford Foundation and Knight Foundation also are reportedly involved.

Foundation grants account for 10 percent of the $1.6 million in contributions the Music Hall raised last year, according to Paul. In that respect, he’s less exposed to any future cutback in grants than MOT, which pulled in a total of $4 million in contributions, of which 20 percent came from foundations. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra raised $18.9 million, with foundation dollars also making up 20 percent.

Overall, DSO vice president Paul Hogle takes an optimistic view, contending foundation giving isn’t a zero-sum game — a win for one is not necessarily a loss for another.

“The symphony and everyone else has an extraordinary case to make to any funding partner,” Hogle said. “Past history suggests foundations believe it’s a ‘both/and’ question, not an ‘either/or’ one.”

Negotiations on a DIA rescue package are ongoing, and likely to be affected not only by federal mediation, but also by Orr’s talks with creditors. Also bearing on how much Orr will require from the DIA will be Christie’s lower-than-expected appraisal of the museum’s top couple of thousand objects, which came in at $452 million to $866 million, far below the billions some predicted.

The problem with going to foundations in a crisis is that they plan several years out and usually can’t make abrupt shifts, said William Schambra, a senior scholar at the Hudson Institute, who studies bankruptcy. He noted the Troy-based Kresge Foundation, which has brought other national foundations into the city in recent years, already has a meticulous strategy for how and where it wants to invest in Detroit.

“They’ve said every grant they make in Detroit will be guided by that grand plan,” Schambra added. “What the court is saying to the foundations is almost insulting — in essence, ‘You guys have your grand plans for the city, and that’s all fine and good. But we desperately need cold hard cash right now.’ ”

Still, the fact that Rosen has invited the DIA into discussions may suggest more movement than some would have expected.

For his part, DiChiera has in mind one scenario involving rescue by a foundation that hasn’t been involved in a big way in Michigan for decades: Manhattan-based Ford Foundation, which is not connected to Ford Motor Co.

“I probably shouldn’t even say this,” DiChiera said, “but what a wonderful gesture it would be for a major foundation that came out of this community and has mostly been involved in the Third World to give a significant part of any rescue package. That way foundations that have contributed heavily to Detroit cultural institutions wouldn’t be as badly affected.”

From The Detroit News:

Hopi Mask Auction Update December 12, 2013

Arizona: Auctioned Artifacts to Be Returned to Tribes
PARIS December 10, 2013- "A day after more than 27 of their sacred artifacts were sold at a contested auction in Paris for $757,000, the Hopi and San Carlos Apache Indians of Arizona learned Tuesday that 24 of the items had been bought by a foundation that plans to return them to the tribes. The Hopi artifacts are colorful and intricate masklike items held to be imbued with divine spirits. Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, a vice president of the Los Angeles-based Annenberg Foundation, said it had decided to buy the items, at a cost of $530,000, once it became clear that the Paris auction house EVE would not delay the sale to allow the tribes time to gather proof that the items had been stolen from their lands long ago. “These are not trophies to have on one’s mantel,” he said. " Tom Mashburg for New York Times

Background on Gregory Annenberg Weingarten

Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, a Vice President and Director of the Annenberg Foundation, is dedicated to supporting innovative projects in the arts, education and humanitarian efforts.  From his Paris-based office, Gregory is among the most generous American contributors to France, as well as to organizations throughout the United States.
Gregory’s own experience as an artist has fostered a deep appreciation for the visual arts. Funding to the Musées des Arts Décoratifs in Paris has supported the creation of educational spaces within the museum, as well as two key acquisitions: “Deuxième Rhinocéros" by Francois-Xavier Lalanne, and “Barbie Foot,” by Chloé Ruchon.  As a champion of the unique bond between the United States and France, Gregory has helped to showcase American artists at the Centre National d'art et de Culture Georges Pompidou with the “Morphosis” show in 2006 and the 2009 exhibit of the late American sculptor Alexander Calder.
In the United States, Gregory has funded significant and signature projects by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), including the creation of a comprehensive digital archive of over 2,000 German Expressionist prints and drawings.  As a direct result of this project, MoMA launched the critically-acclaimed exhibition, “Expressionism:  The Graphic Impulse," in 2011.  As a founding donor of the French Regional American Museum Exchange, Gregory has created a legacy of promoting cultural diplomacy and fostering partnerships to develop exhibitions, innovative educational and public programs that reach a global audience.
Building on the belief in the power of education to transform lives, Gregory has supported projects at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, including research on Native American identity, and the creation of an Endowment Fund for Curator of the North American Section.  In an effort to energize educational outreach to underserved communities in Paris and across France, Gregory has partnered with the Musée du Louvre to develop state-of-the-art programming in schools and at the museum.
Gregory’s philanthropic work has reached more than 130 organizations across the globe.  This effort to create a vibrant partnership between France and America earned him the title of “Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters), awarded by French Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres in 2007. In 2009, he was named Grand Mécène, Grand Donateur de la Culture, and that same year, his wife, Regina – a partner in his philanthropy, earned the prestigious “Legion of Honor” distinction.
Gregory graduated from Stanford with a degree in Political Science. He later worked as a journalist at the Times of London, before embarking on a career as an artist. He currently shows his work primarily in the U.S. and France.
Annenberg Foundation
The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to non-profit organizations in the United States and around the world.[2] Some of the Foundation's core initiatives are the Annenberg/Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) project (now Annenberg Learner), which funds many educational television shows broadcast on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Public television in the United States as well as The Annenberg Community Beach House, The Annenberg Space for Photography, Metabolic Studio, and the upcoming Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts.
Walter H. Annenberg headed the Annenberg Foundation until his death in 2002. Leonore, his wife, ran it until her death in March 2009. Since then, the foundation's trusteeship has been led by Wallis Annenberg and three of her children: Lauren Bon, Gregory Annenberg Weingarten and Charles Annenberg Weingarten.
Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, Wallis Annenberg
Vice President and Director, Lauren Bon
Vice President and Director, Gregory Annenberg Weingarten
Vice President and Director, Charles Annenberg Weingarten

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wielgus Gun Collection Opens at Cody

This post is written by Jessica Tomberlin in celebration of the opening of the permanent installation of  the Ray Wielgus Gun collection at the Firearms Museum in Cody Wyoming at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. The installation, "Steel Sculptures: Engraving individuality from mass production", is an important addition to the collection.

Engraver Raymond Wielgus’s Steel Canvases Find a Home with Cody Firearms Museum
Raymond Wielgus and his wife Laura began collecting art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas beginning in the 1950s. Over the next twenty years, the couple would continue to acquire important works of Tribal art, eventually assembling one of the premier private collections of the United States.

“In his own words Ray described his collecting philosophy as the following: My aim in collecting is not to amass a great number of pieces, but to acquire a small group of objects that combine three admittedly intangible characteristics: aesthetic excellence, ethnographic or archaeological importance and that quality perhaps best described by the adjective ‘right’,” says ArtTrak Inc. owner and leading Tribal art dealer and appraiser, John Buxton.

Wielgus spent much of his working career as an industrial product designer before retiring to Tucson in 1970. There in Tucson, Wielgus began turning antique firearms into an artist canvas, engraving ornate designs into the steel, and hammering in gold through damascening - a process of inlaying metal to metal which originated from ancient cultures. Over a 34-year period, Wielgus practiced this artistry, and by the time of his death in 2010, he had a collection of over 60 elaborately engraved art guns. 

“Without any training Wielgus decided that he would take old guns and fix them up and then

embellish them with gold,” says Buxton. “As you might expect he had no desire to copy the artists that had gone before him. Instead, Ray was inspired by Art Noveau, Art Deco, and Archaic Chinese designs. By 1974 his first gun was completed and he was on his way to creating an extraordinary collection of totally original creations.”

“Raymond was interested in firearms not for shooting, but as little machines - he described them that way - and he also had an interest in collecting scientific machinery, and things like drawing instruments from 17th/18th century and navigational equipment, so he had an interest in finely made objects of all sorts,” says Jim Cook, artist and long time friend of Raymond Wielgus.
Wieglus’s collection transforms these “little machines” into works of art. Every aspect of the firearms was altered, down to the hand-carved ivory grips, creating a complete metamorphosis.
“I have to say that his taste is very broad, and he used many, many different sources, and some are entirely new inventions, so its fascinating to try and look at these things and try to figure out where they come from. The mechanics of his decorative techniques are very old, very traditional,” says Cook.

After Wieglus’s death, Jim Cook and John Buxton were made executors and tasked with finding a home for this unique collection of engraved firearms. They knew finding a perfect fit would prove challenging. “Jim and I decided with some careful consideration that the Firearms Museum in Cody Wyoming at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center was uniquely suited to showcase the Wielgus collection,” says Buxton.

It was the newly appointed Cody Museum Curator, Warren Newman, who ultimately helped to ease the minds of both Buxton and Cook, eventually leading them to chose the institution as the place to house the collection.

“Warren Newman certainly deserves a great deal of credit,” says Cook.  “He was inspired by the idea of the collection, and I think he was responsible for sort of turning the herd or the stampede in a way; he talked everyone into seeing it his way, and I know that Raymond would be pleased because it was his first choice, and it was John’s first choice and my first choice, so we’re very happy not only with the installation, but with the sprit of the institution. It is the sort of place where the collection needs to be.”

“We have a very large collection of firearms here, and some of them are beautifully engraved and inlayed, but its all pretty much the same in the more traditional foliate engraving, which features a lot of leaves and vines and animal depictions,” says Newman. “The Wielgus guns are engraved in a very unique and special way; he was an Asian and African art collector, and he researched back some three thousand years in artistic styles and developed a unique style, when I saw pictures of it, I
thought what a wonderful thing it would be to have this kind of engraving.” 
The museum exhibition - Steel Sculptures: Engraving individuality from mass production - includes 39 of Wielgus’s specially crafted firearms. In order to develop the desired artistic design, Wielgus often modified the functionality of the guns by immobilizing the cylinders that would ordinarily have to rotate to make them work, thus the guns in the Wieglus collection are the only firearms in the Cody Museum’s display that are not fully functional.

 “What I wanted to do is to have this display immediately adjacent to the traditional firearm engravings, and the idea was if young engravers, young artists, saw them and could compare the two…then my challenge to them would be to create even more innovative ways of ornamentation for firearms,” says Newman. “We have over 7,000 guns in this collection, and we keep all of them in pristine fully functional condition, so I think that’s interesting because not only are they along side traditional engravings, they’re alongside firearms that are functional, so the shift of emphasis goes from the action of a firearm to the artistry of what’s on the firearm.”
Newman says the reception of the collection has been outstanding thus far. “Its just amazing how many people stop there,” says Newman. “They are passing famous guns, presidential guns, and wonderfully embellished firearms with Western scenes and nature scenes, but once they get closer and closer to the exhibit they are attracted to his firearms as works of art.”
“Raymond viewed these objects as art, not as guns, says Cook. “The fact that they’re guns is important, but immaterial in a sense, and we wanted an institution that understood that this is art, and I believe Cody is that institution.”

Jessica Tomberlin

Monday, December 09, 2013

My Word Christmas 2013

The holiday season and the end of the year is always a time for thanks and reflection. This has been the best year from a business perspective since we opened for business in November of 1974. We now have two interns which you will meet in this Newsletter. It seems strange to even say that this summer we finished shooting season 18 of Antiques Roadshow and have plans to shoot many more. The gallery is also expanding into the auction business, so with all that we do in appraisals and authentications it looks like 2014 will be an exciting year.

The holiday season started this past week with family visits and an ice storm which was the worst in fifteen years  that literally shut down Dallas with over 250,000 homes losing power. We lost power twice and were camping out a bit dealing with temperatures in the low twenties and chill factors under 10. Ice was and still is everywhere. For you northerners that are challenging our collective manhood, try it all with not one sand truck anywhere in sight. These folks here don't do snow and ice. And this is early in our very short winter.

In this final Christmas issue of the Newsletter I have purposely avoided many of the topics we have covered in the blog. Because of  ongoing events we have updates here of both the Detroit bankruptcy
 and the Hopi mask sale in Paris.

Eve Auction House Owner Alain Leroy Interviewed on Hopi Sale in Paris

Owner: Katsinam 'Not Entitled to Specific Rights'

Today, an auction of American Indian art is occurring in Paris that will once again prove controversial -- as with a similar sale earlier this year, attempts to stop or delay the event have failed, and items sacred to the Hopi and other tribes will be sold to the highest bidders. This time, it's the auction house EVE that will be handling the sale.
A year ago, Eve's owner, discussing an auction called "From Yukon to Rio Grande," spoke with an ICTMN correspondent. “The French market views Native art in a different way than the American,” said Alain Leroy. “The French consider anthropological issues as secondary. The most important is the visual, aesthetic shock, from Yukon, to Rio Grande”.
In Paris, any collector experiencing an esthetic emotion, and a direct contact with an item, will buy it,” he added. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s Maori or Hopi.… And when you have the chance, you have to pick it up!”
An interesting interview with the Eve Auction House prior to the sale..

PARIS - ICTMN "The second auction of katsinam takes place on Monday, December 9, at 2pm -- in
other words, now -- at Salle Drouot, in Paris. Many of the pieces scheduled to go on the block were expected to sell in the range of 3,000 to 15,000 euros; higher-ticket items include "Jemez" (expected price: 15,000 to 20,000 euros), "Angwushshay" (expected price: 60,000 to 80,000 euros) and a group of four katsinam, “Pueblo Andamamae” (expected price: 60,000 to 80,000 euros). At a December 3 hearing, Survival International lawyer Pierre Servan Schreiber, argued against the sale, but his efforts failed to convince the French judge.
Prior to the current auction, Leroy took a few moments to speak with ICTMN, to describe his position on this sale and, more generally, on the sales of sacred items on the contemporary art market.
Maître Leroy, what is your perception of this new auction?
This auction is very similar to the last one ["From Yukon to Rio Grande"], with the same topic, related to the Southwest of the United States, with some more ancient pieces this time for that section, as well as Plains Indians objects, and pre Colombian art. Only twenty-five pieces were requested to be taken away from the auction this time.
How do you see the evolution of that market?
This area of the market attracts a growing audience; that is why we will continue the auctions. Today we have pieces from the Southwest, the Plains, the Eskimo, and all of the United States.
You declared, on television, that France being a secular country, there was no issue related to the religious, or “sacred” aspects of the objects, as these types of pieces have always been on the market. Furthermore, France respects Buddhism, Judaism, or any other religion, and those objects are no different -- thus, the request of Survival international was not valid?
That is what the judge said; cult, or “sacred” objects, are not excluded from the sales, because the state is secular, and does not privilege one religion over another. So those objects are not entitled to specific rights.
And it is a world position, as long as a state does not have a single state religion.
The United States respects all religions, but sacred objects are not prohibited from the sales there; the law says that they can be possessed by private owners, and can circulate on the market. It is in the Fifth Amendment. Sacred objects can be owned privately.
So your understanding is that there is no valid reason to accommodate Survival International’s request?
Well, I am not saying that, it is the judge who says so, referring to the law; she felt that it applied. Those objects are allowed to be sold in the United States. And in the first place, it would be appropriate to define how those pieces came out from their original locations.
Would not the bottom line of the debate be a fundamental conflict between the perception of the “sacred” among spiritual, or traditional societies, and the secular ones?
Well, yes, each person sees a religious object like he wishes to, according to his religion.
You mean that the katsina are looked at like any religious objects, in any religious institution, like for example, objects belonging to the Judeo Christian religion?
Yes: they are religious. What other meaning would there be? Each religion is the foundation of a people -- this is the principle of religions.
So your opinion is that this is just another kind of art, and with those pieces being part of an art trend, the present request is not legitimate, as it not part of modernity, and just restricted to a historical approach, a strict reference to history?
Certainly: Native American religions have followed an evolution. Like any other religion.


Hopi Auction - A French prespective

Unfortunately, this article reveals more bias than facts. Although Wikipedia is not my usual go to source for research information, they do a far better job than the French press. NAGPRA is complicated and as Wikipedia notes also not easy to interpret.

LONDON (Agence France-Presse ).- Activists vowed Thursday to block the proposed sale of sacred objects originating from Arizona's Hopi tribe at a Paris auction, just months after a similar controversy stoked outrage.

Tribal people's advocacy group Survival International said it would go to court in the French capital on Tuesday in an attempt to halt the sale of around 25 objects, known as katsinam, revered by the Hopi tribe.

The looming court battle is a replay of the legal saga that erupted in April when French firm Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou ignored internationals appeals to halt the sale of some 70 katsinam that eventually fetched around 930,000 euros ($1.3 million).

The latest sale is being conducted over two days by Alain Leroy of auctioneers EVE on December 9 and 11, despite please from the Hopi's religious authorities not to go ahead.

"It's a matter of enormous regret that another auction house seems prepared to defy public opinion and the feelings of the Hopi, who are these objects' rightful owners," Survival International director Stephen Corry said in a statement.

"The previous auction generated such a torrent of unwelcome publicity for the auctioneers that you might have thought anyone would think twice before doing the same thing again -- but clearly the large sums of money to be made from this immoral trade are too tempting.

"I hope the Paris courts will this time block the sale -- none of these objects should be sold."

Lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber, who led an unsuccessful bid to halt the previous sale in April, will head London-based Survival and the Hopi's latest courtroom battle.

Servan-Schreiber bought one of the katsinam sold at the April auction and later returned it to the Hopi.

The last auction was decried by activists, including Hollywood legend Robert Redford, who described it as a "criminal gesture" and "sacrilege."

The sale involved dozens of striking, brightly colored mask-like kachina visages and headdresses that the 18,000-strong Hopi say are blessed with divine spirits.

The challenge for the Hopi is that while the sale of sacred Indian artifacts has been outlawed in the United States since 1990 -- legislation that has allowed the tribe to recover items held by American museums in the past -- the law does not extend to sales overseas "

As noted above a bit misleading. .

NAGPRA defines Cultural Patrimony: "An object having ongoing historical, traditional, or cultural importance central to the Native American group or culture itself, rather than property owned by an individual Native American, and which, therefore, cannot be alienated, appropriated, or conveyed by any individual regardless of whether or not the individual is a member of the Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization and such object shall have been considered inalienable by such Native American group at the time the object was separated from such group. [25 USC 3001 (3)(D)]"

If the Hopi were to approach this in French court the way they would be required under NAGPRA in US court, they might have had more success in the first case and might have more success in the second. The central issue here is ownership.. whether it be by an individual or a group (clan). The truly fascinating question here is why aren't the Hopi pursuing this argument?.

Eve Paris Auction of Hopi Masks Goes Forward

This Reuters article is factually inaccurate on many levels; however, the point is that sale was not stopped. A little Google research might have helped the writer. We will have all the results when they are posted.

"Paris December 9, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann)
French auctioneers sold a trove of Hopi Native American artifacts on Monday over the objections of the Arizona tribe, which considers them sacred, and a last-minute appeal from the United States.
The sale of about three dozen masks dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries followed a judge’s dismissal of a legal challenge last week brought on behalf of the tribe to cancel the sale by the Eve auction house in Paris.
To the Hopi, who still live on the high desert of the Colorado Plateau in northeastern Arizona, the masks are sacred, representing messengers to the gods and the spirits of ancestors and natural forces, whether plants, animals or the sun.
“At some point this has got to stop,” Pierre Servan-Schreiber, a lawyer for the Hopi, told Reuters, referring to the auction of the masks, the second this year in Paris.
“After having massacred them two centuries ago, after having put them in reservations one century ago, you now deprive them of what is at the heart of their culture,” he said.
The masks, made of animal skins, fabric and other natural materials and adorned with feathers, horns and hair, are worn by dancers during religious ceremonies to mark the seasons. With slits for eyes, the masks are painted in shades of blue, red ochre, black and green.
One of the most impressive is a turquoise blue “Crow Mother” mask flanked by two crow-feather wings, dating from about 1860-70. In the auction catalogue, the mask was described as “one of the biggest masterpieces of tribal art”.  It sold for 100,000 euros ($136,800), above an original estimate of 60,000-80,000.
A black and red mask from 1910 decorated with the imprint of a hand sold for 29,000 euros, well above an estimate of 8,000-12,000 euros.
Over 20 sacred effigies, called Kachina dolls, from the Hopi and the neighboring Zuni tribe of New Mexico were also included in the sale, as well as items from Arizona’s San Carlos Apache tribe.
The U.S. Embassy in Paris sent a letter to Eve auctioneers on Saturday asking them to postpone the sale so that the tribes would have the time to study the provenance of the objects. At issue is whether the Hopi would be able to recover the artifacts under a 1970 UNESCO convention, which forbids the illegal sale of cultural property.
American actor Robert Redford supported the Hopi cause in April when 70 such masks were sold in Paris by the Neret-Minet & Tessier Sarrou auctioneers for 930,000 euros.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Hopis Sue Again in Paris to Stop the Sale of Masks

In a few days the Hopis will know if they win or lose round two in a French court seeking to stop the sale of their religious masks. We have not seen the court documents but it appears that the arguments are the same as those used in the first case. It would seem that if they could prove that a particular object was owned by a clan rather than an individual their arguments would be stronger.

PARIS (AP) — The Native American Hopi tribe took a Paris auction house to court Tuesday to try to block the upcoming sale of 32 sacred tribal masks, arguing they are "bitterly opposed" to the use as merchandise of sacred objects that represent their ancestral spirits.
The Katsinam masks are scheduled for sale at the Drouot auction house on Dec. 9 and 11, alongside an altar from the Zuni tribe that used to belong to late Hollywood star Vincent Price, and other Native American frescoes and dolls.
Advocates for the Hopis argue that selling the sacred Katsinam masks as commercial art is illegal because the masks are like tombs and represent their ancestors' spirits. The tribe nurtures and feed the masks as if they are the living dead. The objects are surreal faces made from wood, leather, horse hair and feathers and painted in vivid pigments of red, blue, yellow and orange.
In April, a Paris court ruled that such sales are legal in France, and Drouot sold off around 70 Hopi masks despite vocal protests and criticism from actor Robert Redford and the U.S. government. The U.S., unlike France, possesses laws which robustly protect indigenous peoples.
Tribal lawyers filed a new lawsuit over the new sale, and a Paris court held a hearing in the case Tuesday. The judge will issue a verdict Friday, three days before the first sale.
The Hopis' French lawyer, Pierre Servan-Schreiber, remains optimistic that this time the judge will rule in their favor. His argument highlights an existing French law which prevents the sale of tombs, and gives these objects a special, protected status.
"The Hopis are saying that not everything can be sold and bought. The day that there are no more Katsinam masks, the Hopi tribe will exist no more," Servan-Schreiber argued in court.
"It's a cause worth fighting for. And like all good causes, you need to keep fighting. The Hopis
have been massacred, slaughtered, pillaged and for years deprived of what was theirs, and at some point this has to change," Servan-Schreiber said.
The tribe has said it believes the masks, which date back to the late 19th and early 20th century, were taken from a northern Arizona reservation in the early 20th century. Curiosity about one of the oldest indigenous tribes whose territory is now surrounded by the U.S. state first led collectors and researchers there.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Need Appraisal, Authentication, or Expert Witness?

Ms. Kolker has degrees as an undergraduate in art (Bachelor of Arts specializing in print making 1989) and Secondary Art Education (1995) from the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas. Ms. Kolker also was in the M.F.A. program for Independent Filmmaking at Ohio University, where her first film won an award at the Baltimore International Film Festival. Her artwork is in private collections across the United States, and can also be found at Banc of America Securities in Dallas.

Most would agree that it is quite unusual to have such an extensive art background and also to have successfully passed her Series 7 & 63 Securities Exams in 2003 while working at Banc of America Securities from 2000 to 2006. In May of 2006, Ms. Kolker was one of 70 applicants that applied for the job of gallery and office manager of Shango Galleries in Dallas. This was only the beginning, as Ms. Kolker went on to pass her accreditation with the International Society of Appraisers as an appraiser of Fine Art in 2008. Kim is progressing towards achieving the highest appraisal qualification-- ISA's Certified Appraiser of Personal Property(CAPP). Ms. Kolker has been President of the North Texas Chapter for two years and steps down in December 2013. Kim's specialty in Fine Art is appraising 19th and 20th century paintings and prints, outsider, regional and Texas artists.


John Buxton graduated in 1968 from Tulane University, then spent five years in the Navy during which time he traveled extensively throughout Africa, Indian, Pakistan, Iran, and the Middle East. Buxton served as personal aide to Commander Middle East Forces, Vice Admiral Duke Bayne. In 1974 he established The Bahraini Chest, an import shop in Dallas,
Texas. Two years later he opened Shango Galleries, dealing in African, Pre-Columbian, Oceanic, and American Indian art. In 1990 he created the computer database, Auction Trak, for the appraisal, research, evaluation, and authentication of tribal art sold at auction in Europe and the United States. A year later Buxton founded and incorporated ArtTrak, an art services computer network. In 1996 he started Buxton, Appraisal Authentication and Consulting Services (BAACS). Mr. Buxton is a Certified Appraiser of Personal Property with the International Society of Appraisers, which is one of the largest personal property appraisal organizations in the United States. Mr. Buxton is the only appraiser currently within the organization and one of four appraisers nationally to qualify with a specialty in African art. Mr. Buxton is a past national director for the International Society of Appraisers. Expert witness, appraisal review, purchase consultation and collection management are among some of the services offered by his company. In 2012 Buxton completed and passed all USPAP requirements. Since 1974, Mr. Buxton has performed auction bidding for museums and collectors, and appraised, authenticated, and evaluated tribal art for private and institutional clients. Mr. Buxton has been an appraiser with ANTIQUES ROADSHOW since its first season in 1997.

John Buxton has been in the antiques and appraisal business for almost 40 years. Having completed 18 years as an appraiser of African, Pre-Columbian, American Indian, and Oceanic art on Antiques Roadshow, Buxton is looking forward to begin taping Season 19 in June. In addition to his expertise in tribal art, John also has served as an expert witness and a consultant for both appraisal review and deposition preparation. His counsel has been sought by museums as early as this past March when he was asked to fly to Paris to review the Barbier Mueller Pre-Columbian collection. Buxton and his friend Jim Cook at the request of the late Ray Wielgus were solely responsible for vetting the competing institutions for the donation of the sought after Wielgus embellished gun collection. Among his unique appraisals Buxton appraised Lucy, the famous hominid found by Don Johanson in Ethiopia in 1974. Rather than now seeing the end of his career this appraiser is looking for new ways to assist his clients.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Photos Around the World

Full Moon
Fernando Damico
Balloon Ride
Grandma Moses
Green Aurora
Jal Mahai, India
Peregrine Falcon
Orias Wave
Landscape Czech Republic

Sunday, November 24, 2013

 5th century comb

Obernail, France

My Word Fall 2013

This is the final "serious" issue of the Newsletter for 2013. Next month we have our annual Christmas issue which avoids bad news and unveils our lastest holiday card which the interns have been working on dilligently. And speaking of interns next month we will officially introduce Samantha Mason, a senior business major from the University of Dallas who is also an artist. Our other intern is Valerie Thompson who is a senior at Southern Methodist University and comes from Perth Australia. Valerie aspires to be a photo journalist. Both will be with us until June. We look forward to you meeting them.
There is a lot going on in the art and antique world with auction houses exapnding, new players like amazon coming on the scene, and museums still trying to find their way on repatriation.  I believe 2014 will be the hump that we all need to get over to see better times. All the money people I follow are predicting a correction which considering the present political climate and what's ahead there, this makes sense. I am an optimist and although rocky times are ahead , there are significantly better times ahead once we clear this hurdle.  We will cover the issues and continue to provide our view. I expect we will be talking a lot about Amazon, repatriation, the expanding auction houses, and the Detroit bankruptcy.

Tribal Art Exhibitions and Auctions

1. WELLINGTON.- An exhibition telling the glorious, dramatic and ultimately tragic story of the Aztec empire, opened at Te Papa this weekend. More than 200 treasured artefacts have been collected from museums throughout Mexico to go on show in New Zealand for the first time. Te Papa Curator Lynette Townsend says Aztecs: Conquest and glory provides a fascinating insight into the ways of life, beliefs and sacrifical rituals of the Aztecs. “This is a rare opportunity to view the Aztecs’ most sacred and treasured objects first-hand. One of my favourite objects is a large ceramic sculpture of Mictlantecuhtli, god of death and lord of the underworld. “He stands bent over with his liver hanging out, grinning manically. This fearsome looking sculpture stands guard at the entrance to our inner temple experience. Here visitors will learn about life after death and the journey to Mictlan – the place most Aztecs journeyed to when they died.”
“Another feature of the exhibition is a gold pendant depicting Xochipilli (Flower Prince) – the god of
2.  LONDON.- For centuries Europeans were dazzled by the legend of a lost city of gold in South America. The truth behind this myth is even more fascinating. El Dorado – literally “the golden one” – actually refers to the ritual that took place at Lake Guatavita, near modern Bogotá. The newly elected leader, covered in powdered gold, dived into the lake and emerged as the new chief of the Muisca people who lived in the central highlands of present-day Colombia's Eastern Range. This stunning exhibition, sponsored by Julius Baer, will display some of the fascinating objects excavated from the lake in the early 20th century including ceramics and stone necklaces. In ancient Colombia gold was used to fashion some of the most visually dramatic and sophisticated works of art found anywhere in the Americas before European contact. This exhibition features over 300 exquisite objects drawn from the Museo del Oro in Bogotá, one of the best and most extensive collections of
Pre-Hispanic gold in the world, as well as from the British Museum’s own unique collections. Through these exceptional objects the exhibition explore the complex network of societies in ancient Colombia – a hidden world of distinct and vibrant cultures spanning 1600 BC to AD 1700 – with particular focus on the Muisca, Quimbaya, Calima, Tairona, Tolima and Zenú chiefdoms. This important but little understood subject is explored in this unique exhibition following on from shows in Room 35 such as Ice Age art: arrival of the modern mind, Grayson Perry: Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World and Kingdom of Ife: sculptures from West Africa in shining a light on world cultures through their craftsmanship.
dance, song, art, flowers and beauty. He was a god associated with spring and a patron god of artisans who crafted precious metals. It’s a beautiful and skillfully made decorative piece, as many of the exhibits are,” said Lynette Townsend. A similar exhibition in London more than ten years ago was described as ‘powerful and macabre’. The centre piece of the Te Papa exhibition is a walk-in Aztec Temple. The exterior is a replica of the Templo Mayor, one of the main Aztec temples. “Religion was central to the Aztecs’ way of life. Their Great Temple dominated Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Aztec empire. This incredible structure was a grand and magnificent sight, and a major feat of engineering. “It was considered to be the physical and spiritual centre of the universe and was an important site for ritual sacrifice. The structure was created in seven stages by successive emperors, each asserting the growing power of the Aztec empire, beginning with the founding of Tenochtitlán in 1325. The temple was destroyed after the Spanish conquistadors overthrew the empire in 1521. “The Te Papa replica is a scale model, about one-tenth the size of the Mexican temple,” said Lynette Townsend. It has taken several years to plan Aztecs: Conquest and glory. Te Papa has been working closely in partnership with the National Council for Culture and the Arts and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (CONACULTA-INAH) in Mexico, along with the Australian Museum and Museum Victoria. “INAH, the Mexican regulatory body which has national oversight of all historical, archaeological and ethnological museums, excavations, research and international lending, has been coordinating the loan and collection effort. Mexican curator Raúl Barrera who is head of the INAH Urban Archaeology Program, has selected an incredible and fascinating range of objects from a number of different Mexican museums. “It’s been an ambitious and complex project so it’s exciting to be at the point now where we are about to open this once in a life-time exhibition to the public,” said Lynette Townsend.
Although gold was not valued as currency in pre-Hispanic Colombia, it had great symbolic meaning. It was one way the elite could publicly assert their rank and semi-divine status, both in life and in death. The remarkable objects displayed across the exhibition reveal glimpses of these cultures’ spiritual lives including engagement with animal spirits though the use of gold objects, music, dancing, sunlight and hallucinogenic substances that all lead to a physical and spiritual transformation enabling communication with the supernatural. Animal iconography is used to express this transformation in powerful pieces demonstrating a wide range of imaginative works of art, showcasing avian pectorals, necklaces with feline claws or representations of men transforming into spectacular bats though the use of profuse body adornment.
The exhibition further explores the sophisticated gold working techniques, including the use of tumbaga, an alloy composed of gold and copper, used in the crafting the most spectacular masterworks of ancient Colombia. Extraordinary poporos (lime powder containers) showcase the technical skills achieved both in the casting and hammering techniques of metals by ancient Colombian artists. Other fascinating objects include an exceptional painted Muisca textile and one of the few San Agustín stone sculptures held outside Colombia. Those, together with spectacular large scale gold masks and other materials were part of the objects that accompanied funerary rituals in ancient Colombia.
Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum said “Ancient Colombia has long represented a great fascination to the outside world and yet there is very little understood about these unique and varied cultures. As part of the Museum’s series of exhibitions that shine a light on little known and complex ancient societies this exhibition will give our visitors a glimpse into these fascinating cultures of pre-hispanic South America and a chance to explore the legend of El Dorado through these stunning objects.”
3. DENVER, PA.- A buzz filled the room at Morphy’s November 9 auction after the hammer fell on Lot 57, a 9¾-inch sea-green obsidian artifact known as the Rutz Clovis point. The star of Morphy’s 159-lot Prehistoric American Artifact & Arrowhead debut auction, the point discovered on a mountain in Washington state in the early 1950s is known to collectors far and wide as one of the great treasures of its type. Entered with a $200,000-$400,000 estimate, the Rutz Clovis did not disappoint, selling to a Texas collector for $276,000. All prices quoted are inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium. “How famous is the Rutz Clovis point? Ask the floor bidder who had an image of it tattooed on his calf!” said an amused John Mark Clark, who heads Morphy’s Prehistoric American Artifact & Arrowhead department. “Unfortunately for him, he’ll have to be satisfied with the tattoo, because he wasn’t the winning bidder.” With the sale of the Rutz Clovis, Morphy’s has established what experts believe is a world-record price for a North American flaked stone artifact at auction.
“Top lots in the sale attracted fantastic prices, and many collectors around the country were paying close attention,” said Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy. “There was a lot of positive feedback after the sale, and we had several phone calls regarding the potential consignment of important collections. It’s an exciting new category for Morphy’s, and we’re definitely well guided with Mark Clark as head of our department. All of the collectors know how incredibly knowledgeable and honest he is.” Commenting on the success of Morphy’s debut in the category of prehistoric American artifacts and arrowheads, Clark remarked: “I think buyers had confidence in our authentication process and with our introduction of scientific procedures to that process. Right out of the gate, Morphy’s has established itself as the place to buy and consign top-quality artifacts.” Morphy’s next specialty auction in this category, slated for June or July of next year, will be considerably larger than
the Nov. 9 Prehistoric premiere and will continue to focus on the upper end of the market. Premium-quality artifacts have already been consigned, including a one-of-a-kind proto-historic pottery pipe, blades and projectile points from a three-generation northern Ohio family’s collection.     
Many other lots in the sale achieved strong prices. A ferruginous quartz bottle bannerstone found on the Bell Farm in Davidson County, Tennessee, in 1910, handily surpassed its estimate at $38,400. Another unusual figural piece, a rat-tail spud of polished metamorphic material, described in the auction catalog as “one of the rarest spud forms within the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex,” was bid beyond its estimate range to $31,200. Also attracting an impressive price was the lot of 20 points from the grouping known as the Motley Cache, of Todd County, Kentucky. It concluded its bidding run at $28,800.
4. NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams New York announced that the auction of African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art on November 14 achieved more than $1.4 million. Leading the auction was a Baga headdress from the Guinea Coast of Africa, representing a d'mba, or "idea" of a beautiful mother, that was purchased by an important European dealer for $305,000. This auction room was packed with domestic and international collectors and dealers in town for the many Tribal Art events taking place in New York. African artworks that stood out in the sale, in addition to the Baga headdress, included a Bamana or Mandinka forehead mask from Mali that sold for $23,750, soaring past a pre-sale estimate of $4,000-6,000, and two wooden Luba female figures from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that brought $22,500 and $20,000, respectively. Luba artists have historically celebrated and honored the female figure in their art. A very successful category in the auction that included many
Bonhams next sale of Oceanic Art will take place in San Francisco in early February. Bonhams next sale of African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art will take place in New York in mid-May of 2014.
top-selling lots was Oceanic Art. Among the highest-selling of Oceanic works was an ironwood u'u (warrior's club) from the Marquesas Islands that achieved $93,750, surpassing a pre-sale estimate of $40,000-60,000. The u'u club was a Marquesan warrior's most prized possession during times of warfare in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The clubs served as both a weapon in close combat and as a mark of high status within society. Another remarkable Oceanic work of note was a rare bird-shaped pestle pommel from the Central Highlands of Papua, New Guinea, made between circa 4000-1000 BC, that achieved $27,500, exceeding an estimate of $15,000-20,000. The bird, that was the subject of fierce bidding by two tenured Oceanic art collectors, was confirmed by petrographic study as one of the earliest works of Oceanic art ever to come to auction. Also from Papua, New Guinea, was a large, wooden Sawos male ancestral figure from the East Sepik Province of the Middle Sepik River that sold for $81,250, ahead of a $40,000-60,000 estimate, and a Mangan mask from the Lower Sepik River, that brought $32,500, past a $10,000-15,000 estimate. Additional notable Oceanic works - that shot past their $12,000-18,000 estimates - included a rare pahu heiau or patu hula from the Hawaiian Islands that sold for $68,750, and a rare fish shaped pectoral from Easter Island that achieved $43,750. Pre-Columbian artworks in the auction also performed well with brisk bidding both inside the auction room and on the telephones. A monumental, earthenware Colima seated dog from the Protoclassic period, circa 100 BC-AD 250, appealed to numerous bidders, achieving $37,500, while a large Nayarit standing male figure of the same period brought an impressive $23,750. The sale also featured the Evan M. Maurer Headrest Collection, which included a variety of exceptional African headrests, carefully assembled by Maurer, the current Director Emeritus of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Notable examples included a rare, figural wood Twa headrest of Rwanda/Burundi that brought $5,000; a wood, Yaka headrest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that brought $2,000, past an estimate of $1,200-1,800; and two wooden Kuba headrests from the Democratic Republic of the Congo that exceeded their pre-sale estimates, bringing $2,125 and $2,000, respectively. According to Bonhams Director of African, Oceanic & Pre-Colombian Art, Fredric Backlar, 30 percent of this sale’s buyers were first-time buyers, indicating the continued growing demand for tribal art; especially Oceanic art, for which there was brisk competition. He commented, “This sale's strong results indicate that the middle market for tribal art, which has suffered in recent years, is finally back.”
5.   NEW YORK - Sothebys "The Collection of Allan Stone: African, Oceanic  and Indonesian Art - Volume I November 15, 2013 - The City Review: "The cover illustration of the auction's catalogue is Lot 114, a Songye "Four Horn" Community Power figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It is 21 7/8 inches high.  Three of the horns atop the figure's head at Common Waterbuck  Antelope and the fourth is Domestic Goat.  The figure has a civet skin draped from its waist.  The lot
was once in the collection of Merton D. Simpson of New York.
 The catalogue entry notes "the serene expression of the figure's face, where time stands still,"  adding that "through this juxtaposition of opposing qualities, the unknown artist created one of the most arresting works of all figurative sculpture - a universal masterpiece." It added that "widely published and exhibited, the "Four Horn" statue from the Allan Stone Collection is an icon of African art." It has an estimate of $600,000 to $900,000.  It sold for $2,165,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.  The sale total was $11,489,750 and more than 93 percent of the offered 154 lots sold.  Lot 28, a Dayak reliquary guardian figure from Borneo, Indonesia that is dated circa 1280-1400 A.D is 35 inches high and was once in the collecion of Maureen Zarember.  Primitive works of art are very rarely so old.  The catalogue entry said that such figures were "incorporated into richly-adorned ancestral ossuary -shrines which were placed incaves, on cliff ledges, or under rocky overhangs.  The lot has a very modest estimate of $60,000 to $90,000 and was the back-cover illustration of the catalogue.  It sold for $185,000. Lot 64 and 63 are superb Senufo Oracle Figures (Kafigeledjo) from the Ivory Coast.  They are 35 and 41 inches high, respectively.  Lot 64 was once in the collection of Allan Frumkin of New York.  Its featureless head is surmounted by hornbill feathers.  It has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.  It sold for $75,000.  One of the most imposing works in the auction is Lot 73, a large Ibgo male  shrine figure (Ikenga) from Nigeria.  It is 52 1/2 inches tall.  In one hand, the figure holds a large knife and in the other a severed  human head,.  The catalogue entry observes that the work has a "particularly lively, expressively sculpture style," add that "with its fleshly features, an impressive set of horns and a mischievously confident toothy grin, it is a superb image of the strength and prosperity ikenga expresses."  It has a modest estimate of $15,000 to $25,000.  It sold for $52,500. One of the most dramatic  works in the auction is Lot 80, an Ejagham headdress from the Cross River Region in Nigeria.  It is 27 inches high.  The catalogue entry quotes commentary on a similar work in the Musee Barbier-Mueller in Geneva that observes  that"the monumental hairstyle is composed of five coiled plaits or braids unusually large in African statuary and masterful in the perfection and symmetry of their coils. Ethographic accounts report that this hairstyle was worn by young women during initiation and the period of reclusion prior to marriage  The lot was formerly in the Merton D. Simpson collection.  It has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.  It sold for $305,000. Lot 103 is a Kongo Community Power Figure of the name "Chingung N" from the Loango Kingdom in the Republic of Congo.  It is 22 1/2 inches high and has considerable traces of kaolin.  It  was collected by Robert Visser between 1882 and 1903 and was once in the collection of Merton D. Simpson of New York.  It has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000.  It sold for $293,000. Lot 100 is a Kongo-Yorribe Nail Power Figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It is 28 inches high and was once in the collection of Merton D. Simpson of NewYork.  It has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.  It sold for $1,805,000. A very striking Songye Community Power Figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Lot 131.  It is 36 inches high and is adorned with metal headdress and facial decorations and magical substances (bishima) and metal elements (bishishi).  It has a modest estimate of $150,000 to $250,000.  It sold for $137,000.  Lot 118 is a great Songye Community Power Figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  It is 35 inches tall and was once in the collection of Charles Ratton of Paris and Merton D. Simpson of New York.  The head is decorated with feathers of the female Congo Peafowl, streips of the Common Waterbuck Antelope and covered with White-Throated Monitor and Ringed water cobra skin.  With its ribbed neck and square-shaped torso and various attachments and studs, this is a spectacular work.  The lot has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.  It sold for only $605,000.  Another impressive Songye Community Power Figure is Lot 134, which is 32 1/2 inches high.  It was formerly in the collections of John J. Klejman of New York,Leslie and Peter Schlumberger of
Houston, and Merton D.Simpson of New York.  It has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.  It sold for $341,000."
6. BOSTON - Skinners American Indian November 9, 2013 - Out of 400 total lots 54 failed to sell. There were quite a few medium quality lots; however, there were some highlights of not. The Easter Island figure Lot 101 estimated at $4,000 - $6,000 sold for $39,000. The Maori lintel in lot 102 was estimated at $20,000 - $30,000 sold for $72,000. In lot 196 the pony beaded bowcase and scabbord  sold for $60,000 more than doubling the estimate of $25,000 - $35,000. The Woodl
ands belt cup lot 245 sold for $31,200. The Derby Sioux shirt lot 199 failed to sell with an estimate of $150,000 - $250,000. A great pictorial Plains buffalo hide blanket strip lot 205 sold for $39,000.
7. DALLAS - Heritage America Indian and Pre-Columbian Auction November 15, 2013 -  The total hammer price plus the sales commission for the sale for 678 lots was $1,009,128 with 83 lots failing to sell. The cover piece which was offered in lot 50265 was a Sioux boy's pictoial vest with an inked inscription in the interior saying that it was captured at the Custer battlefield sold $75,000. The only other important object in the sale was an 18th century superb Wood lands belt cup in lot 50330 that sold for $37,500. The Southeast beaded mocs in  lot 503345 were estimated at $20,000 to $30,000 but only reached $12,500