The most expensive pieces of art can have price brackets which run into the hundreds of millions, most individuals will be familiar with the record-breaking sales at auction of some of the most expensive pieces of art in the world. Paul Cézanne’s painting ‘The Card Players‘ was sold last year to the Qatar royal family for $250 million, currently the highest price ever paid for art work. Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream‘ sold at Sotheby’s last year for $120 million, and Alberto Giacometti sculpture ‘L’homme qui Marche‘ sold for $105 million. However there are probably not many who could identify the most expensive piece of African art sold at auction, one would not expect the price tag for this to run into the hundreds of millions, but was pleasantly surprised to find the piece of art in question sold at Christie’s last year for $3.5 million.
The Nkundu Reliquary from the Democratic Republic of Congo was part of the Mestach art collection auctioned at Christie’s Paris last year. The figure exceeded the estimated asking price of $2.7 million and was sold to an anonymous buyer.
Measuring at almost 8ft tall, the figure is said to be of both exceptional size and sculptural quality. Christie’s African and Oceanic art specialist, Charles-Wesley Hourdé referred to the statue as being part of the finest collections of central African objects in the world, the figure has been presented in six exhibitions including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Musée Dapper in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.