2014 September Parcours Des Mondes Tribal Fair in Paris

Written by Michael Auliso and republished here with his permission.

Missing most images on page 1,2 and all on page 3, page 4 is missing completely

Another great Parcours has and come and gone.  We invite you experience a part of it from an insider’s POV.  This is not a “blog” but rather an “opinion editorial” hosted on tribalmania.com.

The Parcours fair is like going for a drink at the fountain and getting hit with a “fire hose”!  I ran into a number of American and Australian customers, first attending Parcours who were awe-struck by the volume and intensity of the Art Experience (you could see it on their faces)– the theme exhibits often adding high notes through out.  As is mentioned in the introduction of their catalog, “it has been a high point of the calendar for all of the major global players in the tribal art world”.  

Although the European economy is slowing down, and perhaps going into a potential recession, astute collectors continue to buy.  Many collectors forego purchases throughout the year,  keeping their powder dry for the Parcours.  There were 69 exhibitors this year as opposed to 65 last year.  New and official exhibitors for 2014 included:  Berz Gallery of African Art (Sausalito California), Brant Mackley Gallery (Pennsylvania), Martin Doustar (Brussels),  Jonathan Hope (London), and Indian Heritage – Frederic Rond (Paris).

I understand that pre-sales were strong as dealer’s best clients came early to buy.  I saw a number of collectors providing material to dealers to take advantage of the opportunity to sell.   I noted in particular late Saturday afternoon that the most red dots were accumulated by Alain Lecompt’s (Teke Exhibit) and Yann Ferrandin (making it look easy again).    As with any fair there is a “rotation” of success and it is never robust for everyone– “success” depends on many factors like what you have, who shows up, people’s enthusiasm, and a dealers profitability on consignments they have… etc. 

A group of collectors was discussing specific objects and comparing “prices”.  It was a fascinating conversation to hear how each judged “value”.    From a buyers point of view, they still want all the rarity and quality but they don’t want “record” prices, just “reasonable” ones.  There is enough material at Parcours where a collector can  (to a point) compare and shop relative objects….   Some dealers price items aggressively, either because of what the piece is or who the dealer is.  That’s fine but they risk having inventory much longer, perhaps making it harder to sell.  To be fair, however, the majority of pieces are certainly not priced out of bounds.  The days of seeing an “ordinary object” priced for multiples of its real value, ended back in 2006.  

 Renaud Vanuxem

The journey though the galleries is mostly stream of consciousness and it took me almost 4 days to see about 85 percent of it.  Some galleries I never did get to visit.  Sadly, when I returned to key galleries, initially too busy to photograph , many exciting pieces were already gone.  That was especially true of Renaud Vanexum’s gallery who had an exposition titled ” Sage et Feroce”.   So, you must be early before things are purchased and removed, since many visitors to the Parcours are from out of town and eagerly take their purchases with them!  Who can blame them, they want to start enjoying them.

(Kevin Conru)  with one of the best graphic window art displays– Pair of New Britain Banning tapas 

(Kevin Conru)  rue des Beaux-Arts Gallery

Characterizing buyer behavior, Kevin told me “there was an abundance of people walking around who can and will spend 2-3000 euros, then there are those who will spend 10K, looking for better pieces and they are “fewer”.  Then there are those who will spend far more and they are the fewest.  At Parcours I expect to spend more time with customers to make deals work.”

(Yann Ferrandin)  Interior of his new spacious and classy gallery on 33 rue de Seine

(Yann Ferrandin)

(Yann Ferrandin)  Left- Detail of a Batak Magic horn from Sumatra.  Right- expressive horned Dan mask

(Yann Ferrandin)  A unique style Baule female figure.  

(Yann Ferrandin) an ancient Senufo “Kipele” mask

(Yann Ferrandin)  Makonde mask Mozambique

(Yann Ferrandin)  Luba Stool

(Yann Ferrandin)  Maori feather box “wakahuia”

The fair is always a rich social experience.  Running into Marc Pinto from Perth Australia.  Marc is a dealer, field collector and traditional Tattoo artist.  I like the contrast of his Paris attire and ink.  He’s wearing mostly Thai Buddhist magic tattoos.   Good chatting and thanks for the coffee man!

(Michael Hamson)  New Guinea pieces including a graphic Elema archers shield and Sepik trumpet.

(Michael Hamson) The scale and quality of the center Aboriginal Churinga was impressive.

(Michael Hamson)  His catalog submission- A West Sepik province, Siasso Lagoon shield.

(Bruce Frank)

(Bruce Frank) New Guinea fiber mask

(Bruce Frank) A New Guinea Aitpae female figure.  Right-  A refined Mende “Bundu” mask from Sierre Leone

(Galerie Guilhem Montagut)  Dramatic and effective use of window art for this exhibit: “L’ancien Soudan Francais”.  

(Interior- Guilhem Montagut- Barcelona)  Cameroon Bamileke figure

Guilhem Montagut (red shirt)

(Guilhem Montagut) A Kuba “bwoon” Helmet mask

(Guilhem Montagut)  Left- Dogon ancestor figure, Right- a Senufo figure 

(Guilhem Montagut) Bamana Hyena mask

(Guilhem Montagut) Dogon “Omono” mask

(Exterior Galerie Guilhem Montagut) Running into a couple more colleagues Daniel Rootenberg, and Charles Moreau.

Galerie J. Visser

(Galerie J. Visser)

(Galerie J. Visser)  Amazing Asmat headhunting sculpture set against a graphic N. African painted hide.

(Galerie J. Visser)    Detail showing a decapitated individual holding their own head!  From the old days of a thriving headhunting culture.


For me a part of Parcours experience,  is studying and looking in the gallery windows at NIGHT.   I think it is cool when they leave their lights on so you can see some of the Gods and Ancestors resting.  A quiet reflective time to absorb more and summarize the day.  It also helps occupy oneself for insomnia and Jetlag.




Serge Schoffel

(Lucas Ratton)– Evening, Rue de Seine looking through a sheer curtain

(Lucas Ratton) This Punu Charm from Gabon was his catalog submission

(Galerie Dodier)

(Galerie Dodier) Strolling the galleries and running in this contraption.  At first I thought it was the worst modification to a car I’ve ever seen (which it is) but then it dawned on me the intention was to duplicate the DeLorean from the 80’s film Back to the Future.

Pierre Dartevelle’s Exhibit: Continuite’.  This year he moved the larger attractive Galerie Loevenbruck space on rue Jacques Callot.

Galerie Schoffel de Fabry on rue Guenegaud

Guilhem Montagut

Exterior Galerie Meyer-  Michael Auliso (left) with Maori Sculptor George Nuku (right).  His sculpting skills are in high demand with a line of Museums eager to commission his work.  Anthony Meyer has exhibited his work in the past.  Continued success to you George!


WOW!  What a “nuclear” exhibition in terms of scope, quality and intensity!  He had everyone abuzz…

Can you say:   (((SPLASH)))

Martin Doustar (Brussels) next to a Skull Korwar figure from Geelvink Bay, in his Paris Parcours debut. 

Martin Doustar- Parcours Catalog

Martin, comes across as a humble, confident and professional guy.  His IMPACTFUL exhibit featuring approximately 60 pieces, demonstrated his great “comparative eye” and knack for research.  I understand he has been successful with Modern/ Contemporary Art and Paintings and can traverse genres at will, demonstrating virtuosity and connoisseurship.   By the way, he secured possibly the largest gallery on rue des Beaux-Arts,  Albert Loeb’s spacious gallery (who normally exhibits himself at the Parcours).  He also published a 224 page book for the exhibition titled “Golgotha” (from the Aramaic word gulgultha).   Highly recommended.

Regarding his pricing, it was clear his intention was to redefine “value” and PULL the market UP.  I think he may succeed in the end but in the short-term buyers are still price-conscious, yes even for “quality”.  Then again, when you’re talking about great published examples with provenance in may cases, it is not really about paying too much, but perhaps buying too early.  

I hope Martin’s sales were as impressive as the exhibit.  Beautifully executed using the Parcours formula I’ll call the “3 C’s” for success: 1) “Capital” -and lots of it, 2) “Culling” -great material for months or years, 3) “Catapulting” it live onto the market, with a publication, in dramatic fashion only possible at Parcours.  We could probably add “consignment” to the formula since no dealer is an island, but I understand that Doustar owns all of his material; even more impressive!   The truth is what he achieved rivaled what most museums could only do with an entire staff and unlimited time and money.  

There have been some great “theme exhibits” at the Parcours des Mondes but the only one more memorable for me was The Fang Exhibit at Gallerie Ratton Hourde back in 2009? 

(Martin Doustar)  Parcours catalog

Martin Doustar (Brussels) in his Paris Parcours debut, next to a Skull Korwar figure collected in 1939 in Geelvink Bay.

(left) Egyptian mummy head 700-30 BC.   (right)  A rare mummified Coptic head- Egypt.  Talk about tension, you can almost hear the object screaming.

(Center)  A New Guinea Sawos female reliquary figure.  The two masks make an ensemble which would be displayed together in a special shrine of a ceremonial house.

Great presentation, each in custom glass cases   

New Ireland over-modeled skull

New Guinea Papuan Gulf “gare kuku” trophy skull stick collected by Thomas Schultze Westrum in Wowobo village in 1966.  An effigy figure is incised into the forehead!

Wow, what an art experience!

Opening night

A magnificent “Tsantsa” 

Probably the best Solomon Island skull for sale in a long time.  Vella Lavella Island, collected in the 19th c.  There are X-rays of the head in Martin’s book “Golgotha”.  A must see and very cool. 

I never miss Galerie Philippe Ratton-  An Ivory coast mask positioned in front of a Man Ray Photo

Galerie Philippe Ratton-  A fabulous Congo figure with a selection of Kota figures.  

 Galerie Philippe Ratton-  Originally sold by James Willis to a private collector years ago.

Galerie Philippe Ratton- (Left) a dual headed Songye figure, (Right) a Fang reliquary head

Galerie Philippe Ratton-  A Luba Oil calabash 

Galerie Philippe Ratton- (left) Vili Congo figure.  (Right) A bold and colorful horned Tetela mask decorated with feathers and pelts.

Galerie Philippe Ratton- Window display Rue des Beaux-Arts

Galerie Alain Bovis on rue des Beaux-Arts (his new gallery).  They no longer allow photography saying collectors in past years have posted scores of images on Facebook without their permission…

Galerie Monbrison,  Songye figure   

Tom Murray’s gallery was always bustling with visitors

War Exhibit:  Rita Giltsoff.  John had apparently planned the theme exhibit before this untimely death.  It looked great and I hope it was huge success.

 Galerie Serge Schoffel

Interior Galerie Serge Schoffel-  Look at the scale and quality of this Asmat figure!

Galerie Serge Schoffel

Galerie Serge Schoffel– (left) A pure and early well-used Akuaba Doll from Ghana (right)  A Png Middle Sepik Iatmul mask

(Galerie Afrique) on rue des Beaux-Arts had a Cross River theme exhibit:  “Ekoi/ Ejagham, Anyang, Boki” 

(Left) a Monkey fetish (right) Antelope horned mask

Antonio Casanovas and his cool son who likes surfing

Ana and Antonio Casanovas (Arte y Ritual ) at their large gallery on 11 rue des beaux arts. They produced a large book called ADAM for their exhibit, an acronym for (Analog-Digital-Ancient-masters) which incorporated many of their previously sold objects, considered to be masterpieces and archetypal examples. This impressive exhibit was largely in the main gallery and roped off, while his new acquisitions were in the entrance. Buy their book– I will too since it was too heavy to travel with.

Book Cover- Casanovas

Ana and Antonio Casanovas (Arte y Ritual )

Ana and Antonio Casanovas (Arte y Ritual).  A rare ancient Indonesian Moluccas Island figure (main gallery)

Galerie Bernard Dulon

Galerie Bernard Dulon

I almost didn’t go up stairs but glad I did. He had two of the most powerful pieces, a magnificent ancient Dayak skull that was carved and in-filled with lead!   It was clearly a special and highly important example within the culture.  I’ve never seen one before.  Displayed next to it was a Jivaro ceremonial Tsanta from Ecuador which was embellished after each ceremony.  

 Galerie Bernard Dulon- These two objects were also his Parcours catalog submissions

Entwistle- A ceremonial Woyo male cup from the Congo

Entwistle- Fine Idoma mask

Entwistle- Detail of a Borneo Dayak Aso architectural element

Entwistle-  Detail of a unique New Guinea Boiken dish with relief-carved face

Galerie Flak– Display of Hopi Kachina figure

Galerie Flak-  Maori Nephrite hei tiki

Galerie Flak– A Punu mask next to an elegant Andaman bow

Galerie Jacques Germain

Galerie Jacques Germain-  His theme exhibit this year was “Animals”.  A Cameroon Bamileke stool with dual-headed Leopards

Galerie Jacques Germain-  Ciwara with unusual with minimalist arched body.  The Bwa plank mask on the wall was his catalog submission.  

Galerie Jacques Germain-  fine embellished Ciwara

Galerie Jacques Germain- One more piece.  Old encrusted Cameroon bowl which initially fooled me as a work from Luzon. 

Ben Hunter-  Detail of an E. African forged iron prestige knife/ scepter with bird head.

(Voyageurs & Curieux- Jean-Edouard Carlier)

(Voyageurs & Curieux- Jean-Edouard Carlier) I couldn’t believe the large scale of this New Ireland friction drum “Livika”!

(Voyageurs & Curieux- Jean-Edouard Carlier)  All wood, New Ireland bird head dance axe

(Voyageurs & Curieux- Jean-Edouard Carlier) Amazing group of Micronesian objects

Painting La Palette, rue de seine

(Wayne Heathcote) New Guinea Papuan Gulf Elema Archers shield

(Wayne Heathcote)  Vanuatu Pentecost mask, (right)  Solomon Island lime stick (San Christobal Island) with a Bonito Fish God holding an ancestor figure.

(Wayne Heathcote)   New Guinea, Lower Sepik Mask


Christie’s Paris Auction exhibition room

Christie’s Paris Auction exhibition room.  The Maori Adze (far left) is from the James Hooper collection.

Sotheby’s Paris exhibition room:   “Tresors Collection Frum”.  Easily one of the most impressive sales they’ve assembled thus far for Oceanic Art.

 Sotheby’s Lot 27: New Guinea Papuan Gulf Imunu figure- Realized Price 373,500 euros.

(Sotheby’s) Lot 28:  Png Papuan Gulf agiba skull rack- realized price: 337,500 euros.  (Right) New Ireland Uli Figure- realized price: 1,609,500 euros.


(Sotheby’s) Lot 38 a Rarotonga, Cook Islands staff God Ex. James Hooper collection- Realized price 1,201,500 euros

(Sotheby’s) Lot 16, A Maori Bird Perch from the Beasley Collection.  Only a handful of these exist and in my view shows the highest level of Maori craftsmanship.  Realized price 433,500 euros.

Sotheby’s (left) Maori figure pou whakairo, realized price: 1,441,500 euros.  (Right) Maroi putorino flute, realized price 111,900 euros.

(Sotheby’s)  Lot 6 Trobriand Island Massim figure, realized price: 73,500.  The best example I’ve seen for sale.


 (Galerie Olivier Larroque)  Exposition: L’Art Magique, A Vili Congo figure

(Galerie Olivier Larroque)  Exposition: L’Art Magique

(Galerie Olivier Larroque)  Exposition: L’Art Magique, with Fon fetishes

Exterior Galerie Dalton on rue de Seine.  Tomasto Vigorelli and his father Leonardo with customers.

(Dalton Somare) Male sandstone deity, Cambodia, Bakheng, 10th century.

(Dalton Somare)

(Dalton Somare)

(Dalton Somare) A bold Galoa mask, Gabon 

(Dalton Somare) Backside of Galoa mask above

Chris Boylan- Sydney.  A New Guinea Yuat River Biwat mask in glass case.

(Chris Boylan) with a New Guinea pre-contact lower Sepik mask.

(Jo De Buck Tribal Arts)  expressive Nigerian staff/ scepter.

(Jo De Buck Tribal Arts)  Nigerian Eket mask

(Jo De Buck Tribal Arts) Ubangi M’bwaka mask

(Pierre Dartevalle)

(Pierre Dartevalle) A memorable Nigerian Jukun Couple (published several times)

(Galerie Frank Van Craen) Bamana female figure

(Galerie Frank Van Craen) Congo Figure

(Jean-Yves Coue’) Collection of African weapons

(Jonathan Hope- London)  the textile on the wall (from memory) was a rare example from the Chinese/ Indian tea trade era.

(Galerie Patrik Frohlich)  Patrik standing next to an early New Guinea Kerewa Gope board.  An interested customer scanning the piece before a purchase.

(Galerie Patrik Frohlich)  New Guinea Middle Sepik drum from the Iatmul people

(Galerie Maine Durieu)  Exposition: Sacres Baule

(Galerie Maine Durieu)

(Galerie Maine Durieu) Baule female figure with encrusted surface

A gallery on rue de Seine showing a contemporary Yupik Eskimo inspired artist’s piece

(Exterior:  Galerie David Serra)  Serra chatting with Alain de Monbrison (Right)

(Galerie David Serra)

Galerie David Serra  (left) A unique Ethiopian Gurage Girayama post, (Right) a Nigerian Igbo Ikenga figure.

(Galerie David Serra)

Dimondstein Tribal Arts- Exposition: Art Tribal de L’est Nigeria

Dimondstein Tribal Arts- I liked his watercolors of African masks by American collector-artist Charles Davis from 1940’s

Dimondstein Tribal Arts

Dimondstein Tribal Arts

(Galerie Abla et Alain Lecomte)  Alain with a strong Teke exhibit  “Bateke: Les Fetiches”.

(Galerie Abla et Alain Lecomte) Teke Exhibit

(Galerie Abla et Alain Lecomte) Teke Exhibit

(Galerie Abla et Alain Lecomte) Teke fetishes displayed in front of a Jose Bedia painting.

(Michael Evans Tribal Art)  Group of Solomon Islands jewelry 

(Michael Evans Tribal Art)  Aboriginal Tiwi figure

(Michael Evans Tribal Art/ Brant Mackley)  Group of Oceanic fishhooks

(Jacaranda- Dori & Daniel Rootenberg)

(Jacaranda- Dori & Daniel Rootenberg)  A very cool Kuba woman’s powder box with relief-carved spider flanked by snails!


Predictably the African runners are here every year, but I don’t ever recall them being this numerous or aggressive? They were set up in teams of two and three every 20 meters, “Excuse me sir, do you like African Art?“.  Its not an issue for some people but unfortunately I get targeted by them.  If you look anything like a potential art collector or tourist, expect to be approached frequently to buy African Art while roaming the Parcours galleries.  I told one of them I was a dealer to shake him off, but he was unfazed, offering me “dealer prices”…    

It is an awkward and intrusive experience for visitors but what if you had the high expense of a gallery and they are positioned outside your door soliciting dubious pieces to potential customers?   Its SO ridiculous and blatant yet nobody talks about it.   Several nights, long after 10 pm they they were still hustling anyone stopping to look at a gallery window.   Its like trying to enjoy a good restaurant meal… and in come the “flower vendors” to pester you and the other customers.

The idea of looking at great art in the galleries and then walking outside to buy a “reproduction” (putting it kindly) from a complete stranger offering a bogus certificate of authenticity just astounds me!   It sounds absurd  yet this happens ALL the time– more than you can even imagine!  The question of “why” is a whole other discussion…. but ask any dealer how many times they’ve been contacted about an African piece or entire collection which was ultimately all fake.   Its a waste of time and nobody benefits in the end.   Anyone who buys from them, for whatever reason, deserves to lose money and bares responsibility for others being ripped off too.  

Authentic quality African Art does not require peddling like contraband on the street.   As long as people keep engaging them and buying “workshop pieces”, they will be there forever.   They are not innocent and do much harm to our business, in my opinion.  I’m sure the city must have laws/ordinance against “loitering” and “solicitation” which should be better enforced during the Parcours.  Perhaps if the gallery owners and other interested parties, spoke out about this problem, something would be done.

Unfortunately, the rest of the review is lost.