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Magdalene Odundo
Untitled (Anthropomorphic Sculpture)
1991
$134,500
Sotheby's New York
May 11, 2012
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Art Market Watch

WERNER MUENSTERBERGER AND AFRICAN ART AT SOTHEBY’S NEW YORK
by Jessica Mizrachi

“Throughout his life he kept saying, ‘I never had a mother’,” writes Werner Muensterberger (1913-2011) about Honore Balzac, the celebrated French novelist, playwright and seducer of older women. The anecdote summarizes the central thesis of Muensterberger’s 1994 book on collecting, titled Collecting: An Unruly Passion. In it he argues that the accumulation and pursuit of art objects is essentially a way to ease the anxiety of separation from one’s mother. The more acute the anxiety, the more feverish the collecting, as in the case of Balzac, who apparently had a mother that didn’t much care for him, resulting in a man who collected not only women but also “decorative objects and bric-a-brac.”

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