Werner Forman Collection

6th December 2021

Almost 40 lots from the art collection of celebrated Czech photographer, Werner Forman, are expected to make upwards of £10,000 when they are sold at auction on 15th December.

Forman was the author or co-author of over 80 books, and a contributor to countless other works. His prolific output saw him travel across almost 50 different countries, during which time he amassed a varied art collection with artefacts representing the different cultures he observed and researched.

The 38 pieces coming up for sale at Woolley and Wallis in Salisbury relate to Forman’s travels, including beadwork, carvings, jewellery, masks and amulets.

“The objects are representative of the diverse cultures that Forman witnessed on his travels,” explained African Art specialist, Will Hobbs. “Many of them had a ritualistic use, were considered lucky or related to courting or fertility rites.”

Many of the objects from Forman’s extensive collection featured in his books or photographs which were published from 1954 onwards.

“Forman’s talents as a photographer were recognised at a young age and in his late teens he documented atrocities in the Terezin concentration camp for the Resistance,” continued Hobbs. “Incredibly he managed to escape the Gestapo not once but twice, but sadly ended up in a concentration camp towards the end of the war. Happily he survived the experience and travelled widely after the war – settling in London during the late 1960s.”

The collection is being sold as part of the African and Oceanic Art auction on 15th December, which also includes the Graham Turner Inuit Collection, a Kota reliquary figure, formerly in the Musée Trocadero in Paris, and the Papua New Guinea collection of anthropologist, Mary-Clare Adam.


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