Finette Lemaire runs Gallery Lemaire and is the organizer of the Tribal art fair Amsterdam. In this short interview we talk a little bit about the history of the gallery, the history of the Tribal art Fair Amsterdam and the upcoming edition of the fair.
I would like to thank Finette for doing this interview with me, and I would like to encourage all of you to visit the upcoming fair.
Michael Auliso is a former art dealer who until recently ran Tribalmania gallery. Not only is he well known for being a Tribal art dealer and participating in a lot of Tribal shows, he is also well known for having one of the first online tribal art gallery’s and for posting Tribal show reviews & interviews on his website: tribalmania.com
In 2022 Michael decided to close the gallery and in his own words:
“We are most grateful to all our customers and “Art Enthusiasts” for your loyal support. I’ll miss you all as I pivot into a new career and journey”
I first came across Michael’s website “Tribalmania.com” around 2012 when I started this collecting adventure. At the time it was one of the few websites that not only had wonderful items but also prices listed… a rarity even today!
What kept me coming back again and again, year over year, were Michael’s remarkable show reviews and interviews, honest insider information that is sadly no longer available for new shows (unless we can convince Michael to become a writer for Tribal art Magazine?).
I cannot begin to explain how many times I read and reread those show reviews and interviews and how much they helped me. Not only did these pages show me the Tribal Shows to go to and where to find them, they also provided valuable insights into a world I was not accustomed to.
They also greatly increased my enthusiasm for this field and sparked a bit of Tribalmania in my mind, and for that I will be forever grateful.
After hearing that Michael was closing Tribalmania I asked him if he would allow me to save the Show reviews and interviews and republish an archive of them on this site, Michael generously agreed and allowed me to repost them on this site indefinitely! (they can be found lower down this page) And while I was in the “strike iron while it is hot” mode I asked him if he was willing to do an interview with me, and amazingly he agreed to that too! (probably my amazing Dutch to English e-mail writing skills that did the trick…or luck?)
Interview with Michael Auliso
Below is an embedded video of the interview where Michael and I talk about Tribalmania, closing the gallery, Tribal art in general, the current market climate and much more! (There is a small chance you may notice my enthusiasm in this interview… please reread the paragraph that starts with “I cannot begin to explain” to understand my absolute professionalism in this matter)
While running his gallery, Michael decided to start writing and taking pictures during tribal shows and openings. He also started interviewing other collectors, dealers and art professionals to produce a series of very informative interviews and Tribal show reviews that he has generously allowed me to republish here.
Unfortunately, some reviews have been lost to the sands of time, while some others are missing images and or second or third pages (they used to be separate pages).
If you have any of the missing reviews, pages, photographs or information for me to add, please email me at email@example.com or message me on Facebook.
Julien’s Note: Phew! Adding all the show reviews and interviews was a lot more work than I was expecting, and I can only imagine how much work must have gone into making them! Thank you, Michael.
No, The Tropenmuseum is not closing, or even disappearing… but next time you visit the Netherlands… just “make believe” that it closed its doors.
Tonight (23 of June 2022) I was at the opening of the new exhibition called “Our colonial inheritance”, yes it’s about colonialism, racism etc…
Remember the part with all the New Guinea art? Or the Indonesian art? Or the African art? (check the gallery below for how it used to be) Yeah, that is all gone, “Our colonial inheritance” is the new main exhibition now… And unless your hobby is slavery and colonialism, there is not a lot to see…a few photographs, some colonial items, some paintings and a lot of modern “urban” handicraft style “art”.
Luckily, not all the art is gone though, there are still some remarkable pieces on display.. just not a lot. It feels like the two directors (prof. dr. Wayne Modest and Marieke van Bommel) would rather have had a museum of modern art and slavery, but couldn’t quite get away with not putting any actual old objects on display… They do their best though, as an example they chose to display modern made for sale (to tourists) Mimika/Kamoro objects instead of the authentic items they have in the basement (because we all visit museums to see items we can buy on Ebay for about 100 dollar/euro..right?)
Other items are literally kept in the dark, making them hard to see and impossible to photograph. Don’t expect any numbers on the few objects they have on display either… you are just supposed to play: “Match the description” with an item in the case…impossible for regular visitors and probably doable for scholars, dealers, collectors and other professionals… but here we find a big problem: There is no reason for any of these groups to visit this museum anymore.
Last week I was lucky enough to visit both the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris and the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève and wow was I impressed with the collection and the way they have it on display, numbers with descriptions next to the items too… who knew that would be handy?
In Paris the luck was even greater: “Power and prestige” the monumental exhibition about the art of clubs in Oceania curated by Professor Steven Hooper was on… A powerhouse of an exhibition…just make plans to see it and thank me later!…how many times can you say WOW in an exhibition? More than I could count.
But the fun doesn’t end there, they made a proper publication about it too…. I recommend you buy it…because it will become “the book” (or standard reference) on oceanic war clubs for a long time to come, trust me.
Back to the museum that used to be relevant: The Tropenmuseum is on a quest, a quest to be free, a quest to be free from the chains of all that old stuff they have, all the useful publications they used to make and especially the people that used to enjoy going there. Now they have more important matters, like teaching about colonialism and slavery and making exhibitions so lackluster I would refuse the catalog even if it came wrapped in gold leaf (a so-called space waster catalog).
The disappointment started with the Tropenmuseum’s exhibition “Healing Power” I visited a few months back: It basically has the same problems as the current exhibition… barely anything on display… except for a lot of modern “stuff” or so-called “art” the authentic items were hard to find (they made room for a fake though!) … tucked away in dark area’s or with the focus on the “display” instead of the item. A display of remarkable Batak staff’s come to mind… displayed in an artsy way without any proper way to see most of them… a real shame…
Any other complaints? Well…. you know that museum shop in Paris at the Musée du quai Branly with all the books? The one in the British Museum? The one in Leiden? and the more limited but also useful one at the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève? yeah ..?
At the Tropenmuseum they want to sell you books on Slavery and Colonialism… oh and they have Cookbooks too! Remarkable!, and tucked away at the bottom are the only scholarly publications this place has left (The incredible publications by Raymond Corbey called “Korwar Northwest New Guinea ritual art according to missionary sources” and “Jurookng. Shamanic amulets from Southeast Borneo” )
The next time you visit Amsterdam for the Tribal art Fair or any other reason, just remember the Tropenmuseum is gone… but we still have the Rijksmusem voor Volkenkunde in Leiden! A lovely museum! and while you are there… combine it with a trip to the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (ancient Egyptian and Roman anyone? did I say Mummies!?) all within walking distance of each other.
Or perhaps visit the Afrika Museum in Berg en Dal; The missionaries who own the collection and the land/buildings have now officially broken with the “Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen” the overarching museum organization for the management of several ethnographic museums and the same people that brought you this Tropenmusem disaster (How do you get to a place where people would rather turn down 1,7 million in subsidies than continue to work with you?).
But whatever you do, remember the Tropenmuseum is gone, in its place is an imposter museum that has the same name, the same location and the same basement… just not the same soul.
Adios Amigo, Adios my friend.
P.s. for the people that want to go… I have posted a large part of the new permanent collection below… yes, that really is most of the ethnographic material of the new permanent collection.
Perhaps you came to this page after typing www.jamiesontribalart.com and are now wondering how you ended up here?
The Domain Jamiesontribalart.com had been redirecting to an Asian advertising site for years. Earlier this year I noticed the jamiesontribalart.com website was down and the domain was for sale. I bought the domain name and decided to make this small tribute page. If anyone feels like they should own this domain name or perhaps think they have a better function for it: please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasure trader and Billy Jamieson opened my eyes to tribal art and showed me a world I was not accustomed to. This is the person that got me into collecting… a person I have never met and will never meet changed the direction and course of my life.. all I can say is thank you.
Books featuring interviews with Billy Jamieson
The Successful Rebel: Getting What You Want Without Losing Who You Are by Tracey Cox and Melissa Ireland.
ISBN-13: 978-1425186548 ISBN-10: 1425186548
Inventing Niagara: Beauty, Power, and Lies by Ginger Strand
James Thomas Hooper (1 September 1897 – 9 February 1971) was a British collector of ethnographic artifacts of the Inuit, Native American, Oceanic and African peoples in addition to being a writer and owner/curator of the Totems Museum.
Hooper was born in North Wraxall-Wiltshire in 1897 and began collecting in 1912 when his father gave him a native spear.He became an employee of the Thames Conservancy Board but collecting was his obsession. He scoured flea markets and small antique shops in rural England for items of interest as well as purchasing from auction houses, private museums and house sales. He also organised exchanges with other dealers and collectors such as William Ockelford Oldman and Kenneth Athol Webster.
At the height of his collecting in the 1950s, he was one of the top four collectors of pacific ethnographic material in the United Kingdom. Others included Kenneth Athol Webster and William Ockelford Oldman. Hooper’s interest in collecting this material was ethnological rather than aesthetic. Like Oldman, Hooper never left Great Britain to visit the cultures that created the material he enjoyed.
After his retirement, Hooper opened the Totems Museum in Arundel, Sussex, United Kingdom in a two-story building on the High Street. He ran this museum between 1957 and 1963. The ground-floor rooms were packed full of his ethnographic collection while he and his grandson, Steven Hooper, lived in the rooms above.The British Pathe newsreel film dated 9 December 1957 follows a couple visiting the Totems Museum. While the film gives little information when describing the treasures of the museum, close attention to the background and general shots of the interior of the museum give an excellent insight into the size, diversity and quality of Hooper’s collection.
In 1954, he co-authored the publication The Art of Primitive Peoples with Cottie Arthur Burland. In it, Hooper concentrates on the art of Polynesia, Melanesia, North Coast of America, Eskimo, West Africa and the Congo. His text is illustrated with 116 photographs of items from his collection taken by R.H. Bomback.Soon after the opening of the Totems Museum, he published a guide booklet titled The Totems Museum, High Street, Arundel, Sussex : exhibiting the Hooper Collection of primitive art from Africa, the Pacific islands, New Zealand and the Americas. This was also illustrated. The Hooper Collection was also documented through photography as Hooper allowed visitors and researchers to photograph his collections. Photographs of works from his collection can be found in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Hooper’s collection continued to be documented after his death in 1971. His collection was the subject of a book by his grandson Steven Phelps – now known as Steven Hooper. Art and Artifacts of the Pacific, Africa and the Americas: The James Hooper Collection was published in 1976 and featured 250 illustrations. Soon after this book was published, parts of the collection began to be auctioned by Christie’s. Between 1976 and 1982 there were at least six auctions of material from the James Hooper Collection. The auctions included African Art from the James Hooper Collection held on 14 July 1976 at Christie’s London,American Indian Art from the James Hooper Collection held on 9 Nov 1976 at Christie’s London,Hawaiian and Maori Art from the James Hooper Collection held on 21 June 1977 at Christie’s London, Melanesian and Polynesian Art from the James Hooper Collection held on 19 June 1979 at Christie’s London,Oceanic Art From the James Hooper Collection held on 17 June 1980 at Christie’s London. and Important Tribal Art held on 7 July 1982 at Christie’s London.
Books written by or featuring Thomas Hooper
Art and Artefacts of the Pacific,Africa and the Americas The James Hooper Collection by Steven Phelps (now Steven Hooper)
London: Hutchinson, 1976. 487pp. 8 colour and 250 monochrome plates, numerous maps, biblio., index. A total of 1927 pieces are catalogued; the Pacific, 1307 pieces; the Americas; 424 pieces; and Africa, 196 pieces.
ISBN-10: 0091250005 ISBN-13: 978-0091250003
The Art of Primitive Peoples. J. T. Hooper and C. A. Burland Title: The Art of Primitive Peoples Publisher: Fountain P Publication Date: 1953 Binding: Hardcover
African Art from the James Hooper Collection 14 July 1976 48 Pages + 38 Pages with Full Page Illustrations and 139 Lots
American Indian Art from the James Hooper Collection 9 Nov 1976 at Christie’s London
Hawaiian and Maori Art from the James Hooper Collection 21 June 1977 at Christie’s London
Melanesian and Polynesian Art from the James Hooper Collection 19 June 1979 at Christie’s London
Oceanic Art From the James Hooper Collection 17 June 1980 at Christie’s London
Important Tribal Art held on 7 July 1982 at Christie’s London.
Provenance: Twelve Collectors of Ethnographic Art in England 1760-1990 Paperback – February 15, 2010 Author: Hermione Waterfield, Jonathan C. H. King Paperback: 176 pages Publisher: Paul Holberton Publishing; New edition (September 8, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 190347096X ISBN-13: 978-1903470961
William Ockleford Oldman (24 August 1879 – 30 June 1949) was a British collector and dealer of ethnographic art and European arms and armour. His business W.O. Oldman, Ethnographical Specimens, London was mostly active between the late 1890s and 1913.
Oldman purchased collections from various sources including items that were considered surplus from many small British museums. He produced a series of auction catalogues between 1901 and 1913 that were well illustrated with photographs and remain an important reference for collectors, subject experts and museums to this day. In addition to holding auctions he also reserved items for possible sale to private collectors and scholars. He maintained frequent correspondence with his network of collectors and he was often visited by museum professionals and scholars from institutions around the world. Oldman continued to deal in artifacts after 1913 but ceased to arrange auctions. Instead he sent out artefact lists to his contacts. These were also illustrated with photographs and were issued on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.
Ethnographic specimens with a provenance to Oldman’s business can be found in various public institutions around the world including the National Museum of the American Indian Pitt Rivers Museum, the British Museum and others. Items were either collected directly from Oldman or were part of donations from other significant collectors.
In addition to his business Oldman also had a substantial personal collection. His focus was on Oceania. Despite his particular interest in this area Oldman never travelled to the Pacific.
In June 1925 he married Dorothy K. Loney. In 1927 Oldman retired and created a private museum in his house at 43 Poynders Road, Clapham Park, London. The photographs of the interior of his house at this time show rooms packed with weapons, carvings, textiles, and weaving squeezed into every available space. Despite the bombing raids during World War II Oldman, his wife, and his collection remained in the house. All survived intact despite hits on houses in close proximity.
The catalogue of Polynesian and Maori items in Oldman’s private collection was published in sections in The Journal of the Polynesian Society based in the University of Auckland, New Zealand. On 13 August 1948 Oldman sold his private collection of Oceanic material to the New Zealand Government for some 44,000 pounds stirling. The New Zealand Government distributed the collection to various regional museums including the Dominion Museum, the Auckland Museum, Canterbury Museum, Otago Museum and various others on long term loan. In 1992 the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Act was passed and the New Zealand Government, under section 26 of the act, transferred legal ownership and administration of the Oldman Collection to The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The collection remains distributed among the regional museums of New Zealand.
Less than a year later Oldman died on 30 June 1949. His widow sold the last of his stock to the British Museum in 1950 (Julien’s note, I am not sure if this last part is accurate: the source for this claim is Wikipedia)
Books and catalogs
There are many original prints and reprints , I am only listing original work or the bundled versions
William O. Oldman (1879-1949) – The Remarkable Collector Author: Conru & Hales, 2016)
The Illustrated Catalogue Of Ethnographical Specimens, Oldman, W.O., London, 1904 (original)
The Illustrated Catalogue Of Ethnographical Specimens, Oldman, W.O., London, 1976 (reprint, limited to 1000 copies) Hardcover and softcover published by London: [Hales, Wilburg]
The books below also have originals, but these are the ones that you can generally find available.
The Oldman Collection Of Maori Artifacts. New Edition of Polynesian Society Memoir 14 (reprint) ISBN-10: 090894005X ISBN-13: 978-0908940059
The Oldman Collection Of Polynesian Artifacts New Edition of Polynesian Society Memoir 15 (reprint) ISBN 10: 0908940068 / ISBN 13: 9780908940066
Provenance: Twelve Collectors of Ethnographic Art in England 1760-1990 Author: Hermione Waterfield, Jonathan C. H. King, 2010
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