Myron Kunin African art estimated at $30m with Sotheby's

The most important grouping of African art ever auctioned, the Myron Kunin Collection, will come to Sotheby's New York on November 11.

African Senufo female
The Senufo Female was the first African sculpture to sell for more than $1m, though several items will surpass that figure come sale day


Estimated at $20m-30m, the collection contains over 190 lots assembled by Myron Kunin, owner of the Regis Corporation that includes brands such as Vidal Sassoon and Jean-Louis David.

The spectacular highlight of the sale is one of the most iconic and recognisable pieces of African art in the world, the Senufo Female Statue, which hails from the Ivory Coast. Its estimate has not yet been released.

"Myron Kunin (1928-2013) was one of the most passionate, knowledgeable, and uncompromising collectors I have ever met. He had the rare ability to identify the very best artworks, irrespective of culture or time-period, and then the courage and unwavering commitment to do whatever it took to acquire them," said Sotheby's head of African art, Heinrich Schweizer.

"The result was a world-class collection that stands as one of the finest ever assembled in the field of African art."

The Senufo Female Statue is a rhythm-pounder and object of devotion for the Senufo people. Senufo artworks are perhaps the most celebrated of all African art.

One of only five known, it last sold at Sotheby's New York in 1991, where it became the first African sculpture to sell for more than $1m.

A number of pieces are expected to exceed $1m in the present sale,, with a Kongo-Yombe maternity group (phemba) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo estimated at $1.5m-2m.

A Songye power figure - popular among collectors - is valued at $1m-1.5m, and is one of the finest ever produced by the Songye people. A two-headed spirit, it features the prevalent Songye white-stripe kifwebe mask, with another head in a deep oily red.

The piece was formerly part of the Allan Stone collection, which was sold by Sotheby's earlier this year.

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