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News and Events - The Legend of Myron Kunin

The Legend of Myron Kunin
By Harold Scott 5/22/2017 2:32 PM Comments

While the appreciation for African art is far and wide throughout the globe there are perhaps few individuals whose name has become synonymous with African art as much as Myron Kunin. The late Myron Kunin is known to most people for his business enterprises through Regis Corp. Myron has been the leader of the once family owned business in 1958, growing it into a public company with almost 10,000 owned franchises worldwide. What’s amazing is Kunin didn’t stop there, moving his entrepreneurial instinct into the TV/radio business by purchasing over a dozen radio stations in between Minnesota, and North Dakota. His work eventually helped him earn a fortune and finance his insatiable thirst for works of art.  

Like his business dealings, Kunin put an extra incentive on the quality of art he intended to collect. As evident by the wealth of his collection it’s clear that he was excellent in determining quality as well. His notorious art collection runs the gamut with the usual 20th century names including American paintings by artists such as Stuart Davis, and Georgia O'Keeffe. However, nothing has made quite a splash as his African art collection. In November 2014, the African art collection of this ambitious art collector, sold for a jaw-dropping $41.6 million at Sotheby’s in New York.

Baule Portrait Mask of Moya Yanso, from the collection of Myron Kunin. Photo: courtesy Sotheby's.

Of all the items sold to Sotheby’s for the collection, none was more expensive than the The Senufo Female Statue (Deble) by The Master of Sikasso which broke an all-time record fetching a price of over $ 12 million dollars. The statue is one of the most widely recognized works of African art, and is also listed in the most important reference books on African art. Where the Senufo statue seems to excel is in how it showcases the female form in such a minimalist way that  it almost seems effortless.

It also seems as if Kunin was ahead of his time with his artistic tastes. African art in recent years has seen a resurgence on the fine art marketing in recent decades.  A lot of the recent surge in African and Oceanic art is due to the acquisitions department of the new Louvre Abu Dahbi which is set to open in 2017. There seems to be an apparent bull market on African Art and this will continue for at least another decade. Even Sotheby’s itself is saying if you want a great return on your investment its best to look into African art.

Myles Kunin was a pioneer in his community and his contributions to the collectible art world are indeed one to admire. 

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