Yuat River Figure - Pierre Loeb, The George Ortiz Collection - Sotheby’s Parke-Bernet, London 29 June 1978, Lot 106 Yuat River Figure Pierre Loeb, The George Ortiz CollectionSotheby’s Parke-Bernet, London 29 June 1978, Lot 106 It was this figure’s amazing archaic sculptural qualities that initially caught my eye. Only later doing further research did I find out that it sold as part of the George Oriz Collection and once belonged to Pierre Loeb, the Parisian dealer for the Surrealist artists in the 1920s. There is a famous photo of Loeb’s wife sitting in their family living room in 1929. The figure is from the Yuat River, a southern tributary of the Lower Sepik River. It is of course pre-contact and stone carved with an absolute absence of crisp lines from a metal adze. What I love most are the flange-like thighs that bend around a hollow space between the legs. This type of construction screams archaic. The posture is robust and confident, the head is large and sits low toward the chest. The nose septum is largely pierced—as the earliest New Guinea sculptures generally are. The mouth is a tiny, pursed circle—which I love. Please take note of the knobs above the brow and how rounded all the surfaces are from both age, wear and stone-tooling. You can see glossy highlights from the patina even in this black and white image. In the auction catalog description it notes remains of orange pigments—how I would love to see that in real life. This figure is a true dream piece. It did not have a written estimate for the lot and was unsold. I can only think that Ortiz thought very highly of this figure, as he should have, and it failed to reach the unspecified estimate. This is the type of once-in-a-lifetime figure you mortgage your house for and throw in a couple of your least favorite children.