Robb Design Portfolio: African Abstraction

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.

Street photography is stepping into a thrilling new era...
“It really was a gap in art history,” Falconer says...
The April 28 sale will focus on the iconic photographer’s images of the American West…
Photo by Leslie Bird
The Oakland Athletics enjoyed a dynastic run of success in the 1970s, winning three World Series in...
Photo by Christie’s Images LTD.
In 2006, Bonhams London introduced an annual auction as curious as the objects it proffered. Called...
Detective Don Hrycyk has returned an estimated $121 million in stolen works to their rightful...
The Solid Fountain Pen Gold Edition’s barrel is constructed entirely from 14-karat gold…
Photo by he Weinstein Company
Bonhams attributes the high realized price in part to The Imitation Game, the recent film about...
Photo by Christie’s Images LTD.
King John of Saxony commissioned a young Dresden coachbuilder to create a sweet town coach...
Photo by Capital Records LLC
“American Pie” topped the Billboard charts shortly after its 1971 release...