A carved mask from Central Africa dating from the 19th century was sold for 4.2 million euros excluding costs on Saturday in France, despite protests during the sale by some Gabonese demanding its “return” to its country of origin .
Extremely rare, this wooden mask with pure lines, prerogative of a secret society of the people fang of Gabon, “pulverized” its estimate, very cautious, from 300,000 to 400,000 euros, rejoiced in a press release the Montpellier Sales House (South).
With the costs, it reached 5.25 million euros, according to the same source and “close to the heels” of the record of 5.9 million euros reached in Paris in 2006 by another mask of the people fangwhose aesthetic inspired the painters Modigliani or Picasso.
“This is concealment,” exclaimed from the back of the auction room a man posing as a member of the Gabonese community of Montpellier, noted an AFP journalist.
“Don’t worry, we’ll file a complaint. Our ancestors, my ancestors, from the community fangwe are going to recover this object”, a “colonial ill-gotten good”, he launched, accompanied by half a dozen of his compatriots.
The auctioneer, Jean-Christophe Giuseppireplied that the sale was being made “legally, in the current state of his information”.
Accompanied by the security service, the demonstrators left the room calmly, but continuing to protest against the auction of African works of art, where various objects were scattered, including a siege from the Congo awarded at 44,000 euros.
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