Robb Design Portfolio: African Abstraction

  • Delicate facial details in brass and wood culminate in the crescent-shaped coiffure that typifies these pieces.
<< 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.

From Around the Web...
To honor the show’s semicentennial, we present a phaser rifle, Kirk’s captain’s chair, and more…
The collection of 350 drawing tools is almost as colorful as the personality that inspired them…
The backless, rhinestone-covered evening gown will be auctioned in Los Angeles…
Photography by Jean-François Jaussaud
Art dealer Victor Gastou furnishes a 19th-cenutry property with modern decorative art…
Manhattan’s new Twenty First gallery shines a spotlight on artist Emmanuel Babled…
Photo by Mike Bruce
London’s Louis Guinness Gallery will offer notable necklaces by Alexander Calder…
Photo by Benjamin Benschneider
The Seattle-based architect turns art lovers’ homes into living museums…
Posters for acts like Hendrix, Dylan, and Cash are crossing the auction block for the first time…
The contents of Tut’s tomb paint a decadent picture of Egypt’s famous boy pharaoh…
Items include a gold medal won by Jesse Owens and a jersey worn in hockey’s “Miracle on Ice” match…