A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
Standing on Ceremony: Traditional African Arms from the Donna and Robert Jackson Collection and the
Through November 7, 2004
Exhibit kicks off a new annual series of exhibits highlighting local collectors.Inaugurating the Western Reserve Historical Societyís new initiative of showcasing the extensive collecting traditions present in Northeast Ohio is an outstanding collection of traditional African blades from the late 19th and early 20th centuries assembled by prominent collectors Donna L. and Robert H. Jackson.
The exhibition will also draw upon another important local collection of African arms, from the permanent collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA). Seldom on view, many of the Museumís African knives date from the 19th century and retain their original scabbards, which are quite rare owing to the fragile nature of animal hides from which they are constructed. The CMA acquired many of its African arms in the early 1910sómaking them among the earliest objects to have entered the Museumís permanent collection. In the late 1920s, the Museumís collection of African blades expanded when the Gilpin Players and the African American Sponsors, two predominantly African American groups associated with Clevelandís interracial settlement house Karamu, donated a large collection of African objects. Among these were Mangbetu sickle knives, which had been acquired in Africa by the Cleveland artist Paul Travis in 1927-28. Through the generosity of Travisí daughter and son-in-law, Elisabeth and Michael Dreyfuss, some of the African knives and spears which he acquired for his own collection will also be on view, together with important loans from private collectors in New York, Seattle and Dayton.
Art historian Marianne Berardi is serving as guest curator for Standing on Ceremony: Traditional African Arms from the Donna and Robert Jackson Collection and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Berardi earned her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to serving for three years as Director of the Cleveland Artists Foundation, she headed the painting department at ewolfs.com Fine Art Auctioneers. From 1990 to 1994 she served as Director/Curator of The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph, Missouri, and has taught art history at the University of Pittsburgh, the Kansas City Art Institute, and John Carroll University in Cleveland.
This fall, WRHS offers a series of lectures in connection with the exhibit, Standing on Ceremony: Traditional African Arms from the collection of Donna and Robert Jackson and the Cleveland Museum of Art. The series features presenters known nationally and internationally for their expertise in the areas of African tribal art, collecting and curating private collections. Be sure to check out www.wrhs.org for more information. Support for this exhibit provided by Bank One, Call & Post and 107.3 FM The Wave.
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