african maskslavuun
Start ] Omhoog ] Frederick-Scott-Boston ] Charles Benenson ] Arman African Art ] Baselitz ] Barnes foundation ] Gary Schulze ] Paolo Morigi ] Bareiss ] Owen Mort ] Tomkins collection ] [ lavuun ] Goldet auction ] Tishman ] Metha-Montgomey ] William Rubin ] Bregger ] Guido Poppe African Weapons ] Picasso back to Africa ] Private collection ] Felix Feneon ] Jean-Pierre Hallet ] Leo Frobenius ] Olbrechts ] Frank Willett ] Kerchache ] Brill collection ] Vicente Huidobro ] Hans Witte ] Collins Diboll ] Richard Faletti ] Lester Saffier ] Genevieve McMillan ] Stanoff ] Marc Ginzberg ] Horstmann Collection ] Warren Robbins ]

A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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Learning, collecting, trading ... three generations far

a text by Lavuun's Quackelbeen father.

How can we explain that acquiring a real knowledge of African Art very often leads to collecting? What urges the collector to turn to this strange activity? Is he led by esthetic reasons? Or economic ones? Or is there an even more peculiar force at work?

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If the motive is merely economic, one will soon be faced to the extent of his financial resources, which limit the collector's possibilities. For some people, collecting is a way of investing their money, for others, it is a source of even more profit. When you think is over, you will also have to consider the part of the expert and the trader in this process, the ways and styles of collecting, the differences in tastes,…all this without being able to clarify the mystery of the wish to possess.
If the motive for collecting is essentially esthetic, one is soon faced with the interest of modern artists for tribal art. The presence of this form of art in the modern painter's loft makes complex questions arises. Is it a matter of pure homage to the liberating power of a new esthetic creed, does it concern the recognition for a fundamental kinship or does it function as a direct source of inspiration? It tends to become even more complex if the artist works in order to collect and even slips to trading. So far, we have only alluded to the subject and we have already established that motives appear to be closely intermingled. This allusion to the motives contrasts with the clear finding that tribal art leads to passion above all. And this passion is at the base of everything, whichever way of expression it chooses. In other words, the psychological motives give a shape to this passion. But let's keep in mind that the large majority of these reasons works unawares, and we can't understand them so easily. However, it could perhaps be clearer to explain this through the story of the development of this passion in several generations of the same family.

At first sight, my family seems to be a propitious ground to start this questioning with. We have already come to the third generation passionate by Africa. When I was appointed assistant at the university of Lumumbashi in 1957, I had already been a fervent enthusiast of African Art for quite some time. As early as 1939, my cousin had offered me an ivory Pende ikokho to exorcize the parting, when she went back to Congo. Because a convent nun confiscated it from me as a pagan idol and never gave it back to me, I started obstinately collecting a series of objects to make up for the loss.
When I confessed my wish to discover more objects to a well-know anthropologist, he cooled down my interest: "There is nothing left to find". But when I showed him my first purchases a few months later, he changed his mind completely. My second stay in Congo wasn't very different from the first, as far as my passion was concerned. Only this time, there were three children to witness this passion, and whose turn it was to catch it. The fact that two international experts in art trading paid our family a visit certainly influenced my eldest son, Lavuun. Their way of life must have sounded so much more adventurous to him than his father's: professor. And it is with the help of one of these persons that he undertook his first independent trip to inland Zaire. It had to be art trading and art collecting, and art trading and art collecting it was! The aim was set, perhaps through the favor of identification, but the way to it was hard to define. 

Indeed, there is so much knowledge to acquire in order to practice this profession. The father was finally vanquished: what had remained for me mere"amateurism"became real expert work for him. I am quite willing to admit I am proud of him when he manages to convince me of the exceptional artistic strength of this Mbugu mother-and- child statue from his collection, of the gothic inner impression of a never seen before Luba face from my collection, of…the reader has noticed how the psychoanalyst gives way to the father. And here is the third generation already at work, godchild Deirdre. I have heard about her traveling, her first steps in trading. And later, yes, what will it be like? Let's the organizing silence reign. Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren may/must speak in their own name. The father, the grandfather nods and grumbles"hm,hm", and he acquiesces.
The attentive reader will have noticed that this story actually spreads on four, not three generations. Couldn't the 'erased' generation in fact really be the most important, the most determinant one?

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In this section:
Start
Omhoog
Frederick-Scott-Boston
Charles Benenson
Arman African Art
Baselitz
Barnes foundation
Gary Schulze
Paolo Morigi
Bareiss
Owen Mort
Tomkins collection
lavuun
Goldet auction
Tishman
Metha-Montgomey
William Rubin
Bregger
Guido Poppe African Weapons
Picasso back to Africa
Private collection
Felix Feneon
Jean-Pierre Hallet
Leo Frobenius
Olbrechts
Frank Willett
Kerchache
Brill collection
Vicente Huidobro
Hans Witte
Collins Diboll
Richard Faletti
Lester Saffier
Genevieve McMillan
Stanoff
Marc Ginzberg
Horstmann Collection
Warren Robbins 

African art books

The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

more African Art books I like


read also : Start ] Frederick-Scott-Boston ] Charles Benenson ] Arman African Art ] Baselitz ] Barnes foundation ] Gary Schulze ] Paolo Morigi ] Bareiss ] Owen Mort ] Tomkins collection ] [ lavuun ] Goldet auction ] Tishman ] Metha-Montgomey ] William Rubin ] Bregger ] Guido Poppe African Weapons ] Picasso back to Africa ] Private collection ] Felix Feneon ] Jean-Pierre Hallet ] Leo Frobenius ] Olbrechts ] Frank Willett ] Kerchache ] Brill collection ] Vicente Huidobro ] Hans Witte ] Collins Diboll ] Richard Faletti ] Lester Saffier ] Genevieve McMillan ] Stanoff ] Marc Ginzberg ] Horstmann Collection ] Warren Robbins ]

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