A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
WANTED: Collection Félix Fénéon
Félix Fénéon (1861-1944) by Jeanne Picq
We are doing research on the African objects previously owned by Félix Fénéon.
Bellier, Hotel Drouot-Paris "Collection Fénéon, Afrique, Océanie, Amérique", 11 & 13 June 1947.
Lots 22-220 are African, of which only 29 objects were illustrated.
It is through the names of these buyers that we can re-construct the catalogue and his collection. Of course is any additional information or photos of Félix Fénéon objects highly appreciated.
Félix Fénéon and Pointillism
Félix Fénéon was born in Turin. In 1881 he took a post in Paris at the Ministry of Defense. He was tall, with a thin angular face, goat beard, piercing eyes of uncertain grayish-blue color with golden sparkles. 'Mysterious', 'enigmatic', 'Mephistopheles-like', 'demonic' - these were epithets used with the name of this person.
As soon as Félix Fénéon appeared at the eighth and final Impressionist exhibition in 1886, at which Seurat's La Grande Jatte was shown, he immediately estimated the historical importance of the new art technique. The future generations will remember 1886, because the age of Manet and Impressionism had come to its logical end and the age of Neo-Impressionism began, stated Félix Fénéon. 'Neo-Impressionism' was the term, introduced by him to denote the new movement, it showed on one hand its connection with Impressionism, which experimented with light and color, and on the other hand denoted the new style with its 'conscious and scientific' approach towards the problems of color and light. The 'bull confusion', so Fénéon called the reaction of the public to the unusual technique of Seurat, Signac and other Pointillists.
Some works by Impressionists hang on the walls of his study in the Ministry of Defense. Later, when Anarchists' terrorist attacks shocked France, some explosives would be found in the same study.
Signac wrote that once Fénéon analyzed the logic of Anarchists' attacks: the one at the stock exchange was against the bourgeoisie, others were against the army, deputies, representatives of power, one more seemed most strange and illogical, because it involved innocent civilians. Fénéon denoted the last attack as an act against electors. He considered that the terrorist act against electors was the most 'anarchistic' because electors were more guilty than the elected, who only fulfill the electors' will.
Despite the discharge the police didn't believe in Fénéon's innocence. Once the prefect told Mme Fénéon who came to complain that the police continued shadowing her husband, "Madam, I'm sorry to say this, but you've married a killer.'
The Military Ministry fired M Fénéon, of course. His lawyer T. Natanson, offered him a post as editorial secretary of his 'La Revue Blanche". He worked for the magazine until 1903, and also organized exhibitions. In 1906-1925 Fénéon was the Director of the Bernheim-Jeune art gallery. His sharp remarks and snobbism towards 'bad taste' might have repelled customers, but his unmistakable sense for real art, his inability to cheat while selling items of art attracted them. If he offered to buy an item of art, it meant that he admired it himself.
In 1925, when Fénéon was 63, he said to one of his friends, 'I am ready for idleness' and left the gallery. Publishers and art historians attacked him with offers to write memoirs, Fénéon refused. He refused to re-issue his only book 'Impressionism in 1886', refused to issue a collection of his journalistic essays. He prepared a catalogue of Seurat's works, but refused to put his name as the author.
Félix Fénéon died on February 29, 1944.
Félix Fénéon (editor)
Discover the African Art books I like or join me on facebook
African Antiques is the archive and not growing much anymore but still updated.
Visit African Art to join our free newsletter and read recent African Art News.
For the last news about Felix Feneon you should join our African Art Club and become an insider of the African art market.
And if you are a collector of African Art, have a look at our exclusive African Art Collection for sale.
Tribal Arts of Africa
read also :
mail David Norden phone +32 3 227.35.40