African Headdress

Hale Woodruff American

Not on view

African art offered artists attractive alternatives to Western artistic traditions of realism and suggested different and desirable cultural standards of physical beauty. The sensuous female figure in Woodruff’s print echoes the aesthetic criteria promoted by Baule artists from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. Her oval head and long, slender nose suggest a specific type of Baule mask that a man might commission from a carver to honor a female relative or in homage to a particular woman’s dance skills and beauty. Such masks were well known among European and American artistic circles during the first decades of the twentieth century.

African Headdress, Hale Woodruff (American, Cairo, Illinois 1900–1980 New York), Linocut

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