FrontRunners: Go Figure

  • Gross collection plaque from Benin.
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In addition to cofounding the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., sculptor Chaim Gross amassed a private collection of African wood and bronze pieces, approximately 80 of which will be on sale during Sotheby’s The Sculptor’s Eye: African and Oceanic Art from the Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation auction (www.sothebys.com) in New York on May 15. Gross acquired much of his collection during the 1940s, from former Vanity Fair editor Frank Crowninshield, a cofounder of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. One of the auction’s most significant pieces—a Ngbaka male ancestor figure from the Ubangi region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo—is expected to command $400,000 to $600,000. As a prelude to the auction, the entire Gross collection, including the Oceanic pieces, will be exhibited May 9 through 14 at Sotheby’s New York galleries.

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