2005 September Parcours Des Mondes Tribal Art Fair in Paris

Written by Michael Auliso and republished here with his permission.

The parcous des mondes show is still the undisputed best quality show in the world.  The event is charged with excitement and dealers exhibiting their best objects.   That said last year’s show proved to be a very hard act to follow.   The 2004 show contained an abundance of masterpieces and overall “mind blowing” material!  This year’s show contained very high quality pieces but the consensus was that it was not as sensational as 2004.  Participating dealers numbered 56 which is about a ten percent increase from last year.  This was the fifth year of the show and attendance was strong with many visitors traveling from Canada, the U.S. and the Australia.

There is a lot to see and be absorbed at the Parcours des Mondes– really a lot.  There is so much great tribal art that it can be an assault on the senses.  Perhaps one collector said it best:  there is a lot to see and an awful lot to forget as well”, meaning that it can be often overwhelming and impossible to assimilate all of the things you’ve seen.

This show I encountered a lot of frustrated collectors and dealers who were disappointed that so much “pre-buying” was taking place before the actual opening. They have a point too because the playing field is not level. The show is supposed to be an “equal opportunity for all” event,  which opens at 2 pm;  the paper comes off of the windows and buying should begin at that time.  Paris culture encourages this practice of “pre-buying” could eventually impact attendance, if customers perceive that all of the “best pieces” are snatched up the days preceding the opening.

Julien Flak 8 rue des Beaux-Arts

Edith and Rolland Flak, 8 rue des Beaux-Arts

Rolland Flak with a Large New Ireland Malagan from a German Collection

Johann Levy and Bill Jamieson

Bill Jamieson (left) with Polynesian Scholar Julian Harding and His Wife from the UK

Alex Arthur & Assistant “Tribal” Magazine Brussels (Displayed to the Left is a Vanuatu Ambrym Janus Face Club Purchased from Tribalmania Gallery)

Kevin Conru Gallery 34 rue de Seine,  Wayne Heathcote (Left) Conru (Right)

Patrick Morgan & Tribalmania Gallery Front, 10 rue des Beaux-Arts 

Michael Auliso, Tribalmania

Unfortunately the remainder of the images are lost, the texts have been included

Alain De Monbrisson with Clients Standing Before a Bamana Figure

Pace Primitive, Director Carlo Bella, 12 rue Jacques Callot (Parcours catalog photo) 

Fang Figure Gabon, Ex. Paul Guillaume Paris, Ex. Charles Ratton Paris

Tambaran Gallery 36 rue de Seine, Maureen Zarember (Left), A Superb Northwest Coast Shaman’s Rattle is seen on the Left.  Like the Previous Year, Mauna Kea Galleries was Located Upstairs above Tambaran.  Mark Blackburn Reported Having the Majority of His Sales Occur in the First Three Hours of the Opening.

Chris Boylan Oceanic Art, 9 rue Visconti

Interior Gallerie Ratton-Hourde, Long Time Employee Alex Schoeller

Philipe Ratton (Left) Chatting Art with a Client

Great standout African pieces included a Ciwara and a superb Fang figure from Jacques Germain.  To Jacques credit all of his pieces are generally “fresh” not having been exposed at auction or otherwise which is not an easy feat. 

Galerie Jacques Germain (Parcours catalog photo) Figure de reliquaire ngulu Gabon 61 cm

Interior Galerie Jacques Germain, 5 rue Jacques Callot (apologies for the dark photo)

John Giltsoff, 30 rue de Seine,  (John’s unique Dogon Figure Always had a Crowd of Admirers Standing Around it)

Lance Entwhistle once again demonstrated that he has some of the best material around.  About a year ago he opened a gallery right across from Monbrisson.  Among his offerings were a New Ireland Uli figure in the center of his gallery.  Word has it that behind his mysterious frosted sliding glass doors was a remarkable Nias figure from Indonesia for 160,000 euros, as well as an important Fang figure for 1,000,000 euros. 

Interior Lance Entwistle’s Gallery, 5 rue des Beaux-Arts (Far Right- A rare Korwar Figure)

Entwistle Gallery window display (group of Solomon Island War Canoe Prow Ornaments “musumusu“)

Interior Entwistle Gallery (A New Ireland Uli Figure)

Galerie Renaud Vanuxem (Parcours catalog photo)

Lobi Figure 87 cm

Arte Y Ritual Gallery at 11 rue Visconti, Antonio Casanovas (left), Michael Auliso (right)

Some great Oceanic pieces included a magnificent stone carved Sepik Hook figure from Antonio Casanovas, a Karawari figure from Michael Hamson and perhaps the best known Pre-Contact Ramu River shield complete with fiber binding from Voyageurs et Curieux (Jean-Edouard Carlier).  Joris Visser had a very impressive and rare 19th century New Britain Toali Skull Mask.   John Giltsoff, had a gorgeous large early Maori Patu with outstanding patination. Casanovas had a master carved Marquesas Island scarification knife with shark tooth cutting blade (about 4 inches). 

Probably the most significant Indonesian Piece was a Flores figure offered by Antonio Casanovas.  Equally impressive was Wayne Heathcote Gallery’s Dayak Chief’s Stool. (Pictured in the parcours catalog)

The remainder of the review unfortunately lost