Southern Abelam Figurative Panel-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art Some of you might know that the Abelam people originated on the Middle Sepik River and then migrated north through the kunai grass plains into the southern slopes of the Prince Alexander Mountains. The art style that developed has a number of substyles but what I find interesting is that the areas closer to the Sepik River have kept aspects of that style. For the Southern Abelam area where this figurative panel originates you can see the precision, decisiveness and pure competence of an artist whose bloodlines probably reach back to the master carvers of the Sepik. There is an undeniable perfection to the composition, the round face, the opposed triangular forehead and mouth area, the balance of the upraised arms and the bent legs. I do not know much about the original field collector of this fine object but I absolutely love the potential clues left in the layers of old newspaper fragments plastered on the reverse—as if the piece was wrapped wet and the newspaper has become permanently attached mimicking the effect of an early modern art collage. What few words I can gleam suggest the paper is from the early 1970s England. There is an old collection number 1268 painted in white on the reverse. What I do know is the figure ended up in the collection of the singer/entertainer Andy Williams’ Collection in Aspen Colorado. The piece itself dates to the early 20th century, is 32” (81.2 cm) in height and sells for $9000.