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January 01 2011

Winter Antiques Show Preview

Apollo Magazine

Writing for Apollo Magazine, Susan Moore reveals that Donald Ellis Gallery will present ‘the most important Native American object to be offered for sale since the 1940s’ at the Winter Antiques Show 2011. Never previously exhibited, the Donati Studio Mask is the most significant Yup’ik ceremonial dance mask left in private hands.

During this year’s edition of the Winter Antiques Show, Donald Ellis Gallery will exhibit a rare Yup’ik ceremonial dance mask from the estate of Surrealist artist Enrico Donati. Yup’ik dance mask epitomes the highest form of artistic expression, the author writes. ‘Certainly, they exerted a profound influence on the Surrealists who escaped Paris to settle in New York in the 1940s,’ among them Max Ernst, André Breon, Roberto Matta and Enrico Donati.

The Donati Studio Mask was collected by trader Adam Hollis Twitchell (1872 — 1949), stationed along the Kuskokwim River in Alaska from 1905. Most Yup’ik masks were only danced once, and Twitchell acquired a total of 12 extraordinary weather-related masks directly from the Yup’ik. The last of these masks to appear on the market in 1984 was sold to Ernst Beyeler for his museum in Basel.

Prized in excess of $2M, ’the weather mask also serves as a reminder of the often under-appreciated fact that the cream of the crop on the art market is often handled by specialist dealers, and never sees the light of day at auction,’ Moore closes.

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Winter Antiques Show Preview