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A Fine Old New Guinea Ancestor Figure Humboldt Bay Area West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

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Collection No. TB-2998
Size 72cm
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art

A Fine Old New Guinea Ancestor Figure from the Humboldt Bay Area of West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

This finely carved old Male Ancestor Figure is from what used to be Dutch New Guinea, Humboldt Bay & Lake Sentani are very close to each other and share many similarities in their art styles.  This standing male ancestor with a serene face &  arms held to his side, and his facial features, chest & bellybutton are highlighted with white lime ochre to dramatic effect.

The sculptures from this area of New Guinea have a peaceful presence &  aesthetic whereas in other areas of New Guinea, the sculptures can be aggressive.

The first European to see the area was the French explorer Jules Sébastien Dumont d’Urville, who anchored with his ship the Astrolabe on 12 August 1827 at the natural harbor. He named the site “Humboldt Bay” after the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt, whom he greatly admired and who had shown much interest in the voyage of the Astrolabe. It was more than thirty years later, in 1858, that other Europeans went ashore. They were members of the Dutch research party aboard HMS Etna. The professional draftsman of the expedition, C. B. H. Rosenberg, made the earliest surviving image of the spectacular men’s houses, which characterized the area.

The art experts Simon Kooijman and Jac Hoogerbrugge report the figures were the center of male-dominated ceremonies, most of the figures adorning the men’s houses referenced sexuality with their explicit male and female genitalia.

As Westerners became more exposed to the art of the Pacific Islands, they began to appreciate its formal artistic qualities: modernists identified with its linear elegance and Surrealists found kindred spirits in its abstract patterns and pure sculptural forms. The art of Lake Sentani & Humboldt Bay reached its greatest acclaim in the West in the 1930s. On the impetus of renowned Parisian gallery owner Pierre Loeb, a champion of Surrealist artists such as Joan Miró and Max Ernst, Viot journeyed to New Guinea to collect carved sculptures and purchase tapa paintings known as Maro from local artists. Galleries in Paris and New York highlighted works brought back by Viot, which were shown to a wide public at New York’s Museum of Primitive Art ground-breaking exhibition of 1959.

Provenance: Old Dutch Collection before 1930 & The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Oceanic Art

I first went to Papua New Guinea in 1985 for an adventure & what I found was that I really enjoyed being with the people of New Guinea, over the next 38 years I spent extensive time spent collecting and documenting traditional art & ceremonies in remote areas of Papua New Guinea & West Papua, The Solomon Islands & Vanuatu & the other Pacific Islands countries. During these travels, I made major collections of New Guinea & Oceanic Art for major Museums and Public Art Galleries

I was honored by being in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine for the collections I made for The Museum of African & Oceanic Art Paris in 1996 (now the Musee Quai Branly) for the exhibition “Asmat et Mimika d’ Irian Jaya April 1996 At THE MUSEE NATIONAL des ARTS D’AFRIQUE et d’ OCEANIE, Paris

See all of the links & photos in my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY and there is the link to the article in the prestigious Louvre Magazine 1996

I have artwork for Museums & Art Galleries but also for collectors at every stage of their collecting. I want to encourage people to explore the fine art of New Guinea & West Papua and the Pacific Islands and to be able to see and touch the artworks in a relaxed and friendly manner in my Sydney Gallery.  I would like to invite you to visit my gallery and see the artworks in person and also look at my website www.oceanicartsaustralia.com  where there are many Galleries & Sub Galleries to explore.

My Gallery of nearly 40 years is the last physical gallery in Sydney that specialises in New Guinea & Oceanic Art. Sydney is just a couple hours’ flight to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbours.



If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

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