1 How do you define your area of expertise?
My gallery mainly specialises in objects from New Guinea and Indonesia. The field of tribal art covers many areas, but I have chosen to specialise in these regions as they most appeal to me. When my grandfather, MLJ Lemaire, started the gallery in 1933 he also dealt in many objects from New Guinea. A crocodile hunter in New Guinea acquired objects for him. These were then delivered by boat to his gallery on the canal in the centre of Amsterdam.
2 What is one little-known fact about your field?
Most people when thinking of tribal art objects mainly think it is about masks or statues, but the field is much broader than that. My personal interest is in everyday objects – beautifully made bags, spoons, baskets or furniture. I like the craftsmanship of these objects.
3 What is encouraging about the art and antiques market this year?
Last year was totally different for all of us. I normally organise the annual Tribal Art Fair, at the end of October, in the Duif, an old church in the centre of Amsterdam. Sadly, this was not possible last year.
I therefore decided to create a virtual tribal art fair. All the galleries that normally exhibit during the real fair had a page on a dedicated website, on which they could show up to 50 objects. The online fair was a big success. Because of this I am now organising another online fair starting on April 29, 2021.
People are still interested in buying and seeing art, so this is a good way of keeping people interested and giving them the ability to purchase items of their choice. Many more people can be reached than would ever be possible at the annual physical fair. I hope to organise both a physical and virtual fair annually, in October and April.
4 What is the best exhibition you’ve visited recently?
Normally I regularly visit museums but as we all know museums are now closed due to the pandemic. At the end of last year, just before another lockdown, I visited an exhibition in the Rijksmuseum of the Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken titled Crazy World. A great exhibition showcasing his travels and many pictures of Amsterdam.
5 What is one object you couldn’t do without?
There are many objects I am attached to. Often, they have an emotional value like a pair of Tibetan earrings that were part of my aunt’s extensive tribal earring collection. I also have a very small wooden head of an Inuit; he has a lovely face with some tattoos under his lips. It is simple but so powerful.
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