About Antique African Art Gallery

Our gallery contains one of the most diverse collections of fine antique tribal art from Central & West Africa.
The gallery’s owner Alain Naoum has been dealing in African art for over twenty years. The gallery has an unrivalled reputation in this field for quality and professionalism, and has worked with private buyers and leading museums to build some of the world’s most significant antique African art collections.

As well as working on his own behalf and representing clients, Alain Naoum provides general advice relating to purchasing, both privately and at auction, appraisal for sales and insurance, conservation advice, and assistance in the sale of tribal works of art. He visits many tribal art fairs, contributes to new tribal art books, and actively documents disappearing African cultures.

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Our Blog

Dogs, as clairvoyant power

Dogs, in Kongo culture, are animals to whom clairvoyant powers were attributed.

Their role was to protect the village from the evil spirits. Our power figure is a sitting dog with its mouth open, watchful, alert, protecting the surrounding area. Soft brown patina, the body is carved gently, with great artistic skill. Read =>

Wearing African masks ? The decontextualisation of cultural artefacts

Wearing African masks ?
Going by what happened during and after the French Revolution, the word ‘contextualisation’ can be defined in the following terms where African objects are concerned: it involves a process whereby a cultural artefact is removed from its original context in order to be placed into a relational framework of a different kind, perhaps even of a different culture.  Read =>

 Fascinating new book on feminine symbolism

Phemba Figure
The artist has realistically depicted various facial details (left), taking care to reveal the teeth, which have been sculpted into points, an aesthetic practice in Kongo cultures. The shaping of the face, particularly in the cheeks and chin, has been carried out with great skill and attention to detail. Looking at the face in its entirety, it almost seems as if a discreet sound is escaping from the mouth. The thick eyebrows and the upward inclination of the head add to the feeling of life. Read => 

ELEGANT LWALWA MASK – INSPIRATION FOR PICASSO?

 LWALWA MASK – INSPIRATION FOR PICASSO
Picasso took from the Lwalwa masks the crest of the nose, the central element of the face, which, highlighted with balance and elegance, gives rhythm to the overall object.By using rounder lines than those present on the masks, Picasso suggests the softness of female facial features, despite suggesting an imposing appearance.
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Different views of African art over time

Different views of African art over time
The historical context of Europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries produced the first manifestations of the ideologies that contributed to the creation of colonies on the African continent. The rise of the bourgeoisie within the economic system allowed them to impose their ideas on the development of societal attitudes, principally in regard to the value of the economic market and technological progress, which brought wealth.
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SACRED OBJECTS – THE IMPORTANCE OF SECRECY AND KNOWLEDGE

Sacred-objects---the-importance-of-secrecy-and-knowledge
To begin with a concrete example, found among the Guro people of Ivory Coast, the three gu, zamble and zauli masks are sacred objects, used during sacrifices performed in the home. Read =>

 IS THE ANONYMITY OF AFRICAN ARTISTS A MYTH?

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African artists are rarely quoted or mentioned. What comes first is essentially the impact of the work of art itself. As the art, usually masks and sculptures, often relates to religion, what is important is the object and its role in ritual. Read =>

KAKA – THE ONLY CULTURAL GROUP USING RARE PATERNITY FIGURES?

Kaka-Keaka-Paternity-figure36-bis
According to Pierre Harter, these figures are used in an ancestral ritual. But, in contrast, Viviane Baeke suggests that these sculptures belong to the so medicinal ritual. But according to F. Hermann, the Keaka people could be the only cultural group with this kind of figure, the paternity sculpture. Read =>

 

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