Priceless Oceanic Art collection to be auctioned in Paris


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The French auction house, Aguttes at their Neuilly-sur-Seine saleroom, will auction the 1,100 items of the Rainer Werner Bock Collection over three days – 5th, 6th and 7th April.

Rainer Werner Bock, one of the world’s leading dealers in Pre-Columbian art compiled this unique collection of Hawaiian tribal art over a period of 20 years.


Speaking about the sale he said: “My friend Claude Aguttes commented: “Let the objects go and watch them scatter all over the world, like birds carrying a message of the intrinsic beauty of art from the Southern Seas and evidence of your eye and taste.”

Rain mantle Hawaii 19th century Feather ornament necklace Hawaii _8,500 to 9,500
Rain mantle Hawaii 19th century Feather ornament necklace Hawaii

Never before have so many Hawaiian objects been brought together outside of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. The Collection includes 18th century bowls, regalia, drums, fishing equipment, necklaces in feathers or hair, spears, lances, pestles and many other fascinating objects. Some 500 items speak to us of the daily lives of the people of this archipelago of 137 islands inhabited for centuries by the Polynesian peoples, unknown to the European world until the arrival in 1778 of Captain James Cook.

The sale also contains works never before seen at auction and includes a war helmet, part of a collection assembled by one of the first French scientific expeditions to Hawaii and formerly displayed by a French University. It is estimated at €55,000 to 65,000.

The sale includes items of great historic interest including a spear (€68,000 to 75,000) and a flag from the Hawaiian monarchic period (€12,000 to 15,000), collected by Captain Cook during his third expedition in 1779/80.

Club from Marquesas Islands 19th C
Club from Marquesas Islands 19th Century


Gathering boat models has always been a highlight, even a cornerstone, of all great collections of Oceanian art and Bock’s collection, originally meant for a private or public museum, features some thirty boat models besides two full-scale canoes, certain to appeal not only to avid collectors but to great international museums as well.

As to R.W. Bock’s selection of fishing hooks, it perfectly captures the art of halieutics, with each piece having been carefully chosen for its shining, polished mother-of-pearl, which bears great significance in Oceanian fishing traditions. Oceania comprises the civilizations that, over the centuries, developed the most brilliant mother-of-pearl techniques.

Fishhooks are called “special” when they were kept for ritual fishing, such as a spoon lure for skipjack bait. Wood was also used in fashioning large hooks for catching shark in particular.

The collection is a fantastic voyage from island to island and represents the formidable eye of this internationally esteemed art dealer whose collection of Hawaiian art adds considerably to the world’s knowledge of Polynesia.

Pahu war drum, Hawaii 19th century _12,000 to 15,000
Pahu war drum, Hawaii 19th century

Some of the most outstanding objects in the sale include:

  • Solomon Islands figurehead €22,000 to 28,000
  • Pahu war drum, Hawaii 19th century €12,000 to 15,000
  • Rare historic spear collected by Captain Cook in Hawaii 18th Century €68,000 to 75,000
  • War helmet Hawaii 18th century €55,000 to 65,000
  • Feather ornament necklace Hawaii €8,500 to 9,500
  • Rain mantle Hawaii 19th century Feather ornament necklace Hawaii €8,500 to 9,500
  • Very large model of a war canoe, Maori New Zealand, Polynesia 19th century Rain mantle Hawaii 19th century €45,000 to 50,000

For more information please contact Julian Roup of Bendigo Communication acting for Aguttes at 





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