Robb Design Portfolio: African Abstraction

<< Back to Robb Report, January 2007

Europe’s fascination with so-called primitive art reached its apogee during the first half of the 20th century, when artists such as Picasso, Modigliani, and especially the German Expressionists embraced the powerful, elegant sculpture of Africa as a source of inspiration. Western curators and connoisseurs formed collections of these masks and figures, which were elemental to the spiritual and cultural lives of the tribes that created them. This early-20th-century Luba Kifwebe mask is from the Congo region and, like the Kota Mbulu Ngulu figure, is available through Manhattan’s Pace Primitive gallery (212.421.3688, www.paceprimitive.com). The piece exhibits the classic striations and wood carving typical of the Luba tribe, applied here to an atypical, nonrectilinear shape. The Kota, from Gabon, is an icon that tribe members placed atop a basket of ancestral relics as a guardian.

Paola Russo discovered two decks in Italy at G. Lorenzi, one covered in gold leaf and the other in...
When the air had cleared after the frenzy of New York’s spring art auctions, players and spectators...
This circa-1900 pink-swirl marble is in what Dan Morphy calls “wet mint condition,” or as pristine...
Photo by Tom Forsyth and Ron Jarrell
With more than 275 million game sets sold in the past century, Monopoly is the most popular board...
Photo by Bob Tursack
Maya Angelou’s art collection focused on works by African-American masters...
The display is part of a hotel-wide renovation that will be completed by the end of the year...
Heritage Auctions will also offer Mickey Mantle’s rookie card and Mike Ditka’s Super Bowl playbook…
Photo by Cordero Studios⁄corderostudios.com
Charles and Judy Tate assembled a world-class collection of Latin American art—and then gave it all...
Photo by The Strong, Rochester, N.Y.
The American game culture is almost as old as the country itself...
Photograph by Ron Pierson, courtesy of Guernsey's
The bounty from the sunken ship includes 40 tons of silver and gold valued at $450 million…