In the top ten of bids, the ethnic arts by no means drag their heels. Whether we call them primitive or tribal arts, these treasures of Africa, America and Oceania sold at auction have fascinated collectors from André Breton to Pablo Picasso and from Pierre Vérité to Jacques Kerchache. In 2000, Kerchache was largely responsible for introducing works by these peoples considered "without writing or history" to the Louvre, foreshadowing the opening of the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.
"Masterpieces the world over are born free and equal," to quote the man who loved these magical objects from all over the globe: from Africa (Ivory Coast, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Angola, Burkina-Faso, Gabon, Madagascar, etc.), Oceania (Papua New Guinea, the Marquesas Islands, the Cook Islands, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Polynesia, etc.), the Americas (the Tainos of the Caribbean islands, the Inuits from the Gulf of Alaska) and Insulindia (Borneo, Indonesia).
While they acquired the rank of art works late on in their history, since 2000, the ethnic arts have certainly been adding fuel to the (sacred) fire in online auctions, with Dogon masks, Fang statues, Kota mbulu-ngulu reliquary figures, Maori pendants and Eskimo sculptures.
Composed of several subsidiaries, the Drouot Group is a major player in the art market. Hôtel Drouot, located in the heart of Paris, has been the world's largest public auction center since 1852. 15 salerooms are available to more than 70 auction houses. The emulation generated by an annual offer of 230,000 artworks from 21 major specialities - from Antiquity to street art - attracts some 3,000 visitors every day. The Group's digital platform, Drouot.com, offers digital sales - Live auctions (live broadcasting and participation in auctions), Online-only auctions (dematerialised auctions) and Buy Now sales (sales of lots at fixed prices). Nearly 2 million items are offered annually by 600 auction houses. Auction news is reported every week in La Gazette Drouot, the leading weekly magazine for the art market and culture published by Auctionspress.