Exhibitions/ Art Object

Sculptural Element from a Reliquary Ensemble: Head

19th - early 20th century (before 1923)
Fang peoples
H.: 8 1/4 in. (21 cm)
Credit Line:
France, Troyes, Museum of Modern Art, National collections of Pierre and Denise Lévy
Not on view
By 1923, De Zayas was considered one of the finest connoisseurs of American modernism. Gertrude Whitney and Juliana Force, the individuals behind the newly founded Whitney Studio, approached him to organize an exhibition that would summarize his perspective. In response, De Zayas mounted "Recent Paintings by Pablo Picasso and Negro Sculpture." Cubist works by Picasso were provided largely by the Paul Rosenberg Gallery in Paris; the African works, including this reliquary element, all belonged to Paul Guillaume. The exhibition was described by the press as "one of the most perfectly arranged exhibitions ever held in New York."
This Fang reliquary head on view in the exhibition corresponds in all respects to the aesthetic promoted by Guillaume: an oily, lustrous patina, delicate features, and eroded wood showing signs of age.
Paul Guillaume, Paris, before 1918–1934; Paul Guillaume Estate, Paris, 1934–65; (Hôtel Drouot, Paris 1965, lot 146); Denise and Pierre Lévy, France, 1965–77