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Michael Evans

Michael R. Evans is Director of American Indian & Ethnographic Art at Bonhams Skinner. He brings global experience to one of Bonhams Skinner's most international departments, which offers a rich variety of art, artifacts and decorative objects from American Indian, African, Inuit, Oceanic and Asian tribal cultures.

In his role, Michael has overseen the sales of some exceptional works, from a 19th century Rapa Nui Male Figure, Moai Kavakava from Easter Island and a Plains grizzly bear claw necklace to textiles such as a Northwest Coast Chilkat blanket and a Navajo classic serape.

Michael was born and raised in New Zealand, where he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies with a concentration in art history. Subsequently, he has lived and worked in Europe and the United States and is now settled in a newly built home in Massachusetts, where he lives with his family.

As a private dealer in fine art, Michael worked extensively with clients, dealers and curators across the United States, Europe and Australasia. His interest in tribal and ethnic art increased after moving to America. In 2005, he began specializing in ethnographic art and artifacts, with an emphasis on Oceanic and Inuit material. He has written several catalogs on these areas and has exhibited regularly at major tribal art fairs in the United States and Europe.

Michael also has a special focus on early photography of native peoples, especially 19th century images of inhabitants of the South Pacific. This subset of the growing interest in collecting photographs started as a sideline when he was based in Europe. England was an especially rich source of material, and he continues to concentrate on this nascent area.

As with other areas of antiques and collectibles, there are trends and crosscurrents in the international market for tribal art and artifacts. Michael notes that the last six to ten years have seen increasing interest, particularly strong in Europe, in Inuit material. A recent contender for collector attention has been Polynesian war clubs. And, as in every specialty, the best of the best and the rarest of the rare is and will continue to be eagerly sought out.