Untitled [Filipino, Easter Island, Indonesian, and Congolese sculptures in front of an unidentied painting by Morton Schamberg(?)]
(American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1883–1965 Dobbs Ferry, New York)
Gelatin silver print
H. x W.: 9 7/15 x 7 5/8 in. (24 x 19.3 cm)
Framed: 15 3/4 x 11 15/16 in. (40 x 30.4 cm)
The Lane Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Not on view
This photograph offers a perspective on the common destiny of many art objects: they eventually enter museums’ collections. Featured is the small non-Western art collection of Sheeler’s longtime friend, the American artist Morton Schamberg (1881–1918). Composed of figures from the Philippines, Easter Island, Indonesia and, at right, a diminutive Teke reliquary figure from the Republic of Congo, the collection was acquired from De Zayas’s gallery. It is displayed in front of what is certainly one of Schamberg’s own lost works. The artist probably acquired these four figures around the spring of 1917, when De Zayas organized a show of Schamberg’s photographs juxtaposed with those by Sheeler and Paul Strand. After Schamberg’s premature death from the influenza pandemic in October 1918, Sheeler fulfilled his friend’s wish to donate the four figures to Philadelphia’s University of Pennsylvania Museum.