Face Mask

1950s (?)
Côte d'Ivoire, northern Côte d'Ivoire
Senufo peoples
Bronze, copper (?)
H. 11 1/8 x W. 7 1/2 x D. 2 3/4 in. (28.2 x 19.1 x 7 cm)
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Henri and Hélène Kamer, 1963
Accession Number:
Not on view
Probably created during the 1950s in a commercial workshop in or near Korhogo, this metal face mask was acquired as a contemporary interpretation of earlier works that were an integral part of the cultural life of Senufo communities. Created as a secular reproduction for the art market, this piece was donated by art dealers Henri and Hélène Kamer donated to the Study Collection of The Museum of Primitive Art in 1963, as an interesting and well crafted example of works made in the "Senufo" style for European consumers. It is unfortunate that neither the exact location of the workshop, nor the name of the artist was documented as the author appears to have been part of the early generation of artists to reproduce works from their tradition as artifacts for Western consumption. In 1973, this mask was displayed in such a context, in the exhibition at the The Minneapolis Institue of Arts, "Fakes & Forgeries."
Henri and Hélène Kamer, Paris, until 1963; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1963–1978

Convers, Michel. "Masques en étain sénoufo." Arts d'Afrique Noire vol. 16 (1975), pp. 24-36.

Green, Kathryn L. "Shared Masking Traditions in Northeastern Ivory Coast." African Arts vol. 20, no.4 (August 1987), pp. 62-92.

Förster, Till. Die Kunst der Senufo: Museum Rietberg Zürich aus Schweizer Sammlungen. Zürich: Museum Rietberg, 1988.

Veirman, Anja. "'Here a boy always becomes a sculptor, like his father': Albert Maesen and the Study of the Art of the Senufo." In Frans M. Olbrechts, 1899–1958: In Search of Art in Africa, edited by Constantine Petridis. Antwerp: Etnografisch Museum, 2001.