SHONA MODERN | The Peggy Knowlton Collection of 20th Century Zimbabwean Art
Collectors and Resellers Take Note: This is a No-Reserve Auction!
Live Auction: Sunday, June 11, 11AM EST
Public Exhibition: June 7-10, 11AM-5PM
Auction/Exhibition Location: 4961 River Rd., Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania, 18950
Make it a Weekend in Beautiful and Historic Bucks County! (Click here)
“Shona sculpture is perhaps the most important new art form to emerge from Africa in the 20th century.”
“Picasso was an admirer of early Shona sculpture; now evidence is surfacing that he was influenced by it.”
—Town & Country Magazine
Browse the Auction Catalog and Bid Live on these Portals:
For immediate release, May 24, 2017
Material Culture will be holding an auction solely dedicated to the Peggy Knowlton collection of modern Shona sculpture. Over 600 lots of stone sculpture by over 60 different artists from Zimbabwe include highlights by masters of the movement such as Nicholas Mukomberanwa, Dominic Benhura and Richard Mteki, and vary in size from diminutive curio to massive show-stopper. Knowlton travelled to Zimbabwe every year for more than 25 years to purchase sculpture directly from the artists, which she would import to place them in exhibitions to benefit nonprofit organizations, or to sell them through her gallery. This auction now bears the fruit of her travels, dedication and discerning eye.
The auction will be held on Sunday, June 11, in Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania, where Knowlton lived for 30 years. The auction exhibition, free to the public, will be open from June 7 to June 10, 11 AM to 5 PM. Both the auction and exhibition will be held at 4961 River Rd. Material Culture encourages art appreciators to take an early summer weekend getaway to Point Pleasant in beautiful and historic Bucks County (just 8 miles from New Hope), and has prepared a list of local museums, restaurants, inns, bed and breakfasts. (Click here)
Furthermore, all of the pieces in the auction are being offered with no reserve, making possible astounding deals for lovers of modern sculpture. Thomas Gamache, himself a collector of Shona sculpture, inherited the collection after Peggy Knowlton’s death in 2015, and he is simply interested in getting the masterworks she collected into homes and other spaces where they can be seen and admired.
Named after the largest tribe in Zimbabwe that engages in sculpting, Shona sculpture has developed an international appreciation among collectors and art scholars who admire its compelling, graceful and distinctive blend of modern and traditional. In the late 1950s, English artist Frank McEwen helped to found what was then the National Gallery of Southern Rhodesia, with the Workshop School, a space that the country’s stone sculptors could come to work. McEwen only wanted to foster the artists’ native talent and vision with no attempt at outside instruction, and the sculptures’ occasional resemblance to modern, cubist or expressionist art of Europe or America is purely coincidental. The sculptors merely mentored each other, working with traditional subjects and the cultural viewpoint that every object has a spirit, and that the spirit in a given piece of stone needs only to be revealed. Most Shona sculptors explain that their process involves contemplation of the piece of stone to uncover the image that already lies within it. When the country won its independence in 1980, the name chosen—Zimbabwe—means “house of stone,” an ode to the mountains that surround it and provide its talented artists with over 200 geologically-catalogued different stone colors.