Bye-Bye Benin: Bronze Head of an Oba, ca. 1575-1650, Albright-Knox Gallery, Albert H. Tracy Fund
If you go to the Collection Highlights page on the website for Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Gallery, you can see it features two of the 196 works that the museum has now decided to sell at Sotheby’s, beginning next month. Below are the links to the objects on the museum’s website (catch them while you still can) and the estimated auction prices, provided to me by Sotheby’s:
Benin bronze head of an Oba, ca. 1575-1650, $1-1.5 million
Aztec stone figure of the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, ca. 1200-1521, $100,000-$150,000
The museum itself deemed these two works so important to its collection that it singled them out for special attention on its own website. What are they thinking in casting off their self-designated treasures?
These are not the only important works: There’s the rare massive Chinese limestone Chimera, 6th century ($1.5-2.5 million); massive Chinese inscribed archaic bronze food vessel, late 10th or 9th century B.C. (600,000-900,000); rare Archaic bronze wine vessel and cover 13th-11th century B.C. ($2-3 million); rare granite figure of Shiva as Brahma, South India, 10th-11th century ($3 million); rare Limoges Eucharistic Dove, ca. 1200 ($500,000-800,000).
And the priciest work, which I already cited in my last post on these deaccessions: the Hellenistic/early Roman Imperial “Bronze Figure of Artemis and the Stag,” estimated to bring $5-7 million.
I publicize this not to advertise the sale, but to question it.