Exhibitions/ Art Object

Figure: Female

19th - early 20th century (before 1913)
Republic of the Congo
Beembe peoples
Wood with glass, white pigment, and animal claw
H. x W. x D.: 23 11/16 x 5 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (60.2 x 14 x 11.5 cm)
Credit Line:
The University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia
Not on view
Early photographs of this work show that, while it has since lost its original earring loops, its most important and distinctive traits have survived: the amalgam of powerful matter packed at the top of its head, enhanced by an animal claw inserted at back; and the delicate motifs drawn with white pigment on the surface of the face. It was displayed in 1913 in the exhibition of Charles Vignier’s collection at the Galerie Levesque in Paris, famous for being the first exhibition in France to have featured African objects in an artistic setting. Like the adjacent figure in this case, it was among the works illustrated in Carl Einstein’s seminal publication Negerplastik, the first essay.
Joseph Brummer, Paris, before 1913(?); Charles Vignier, Paris, 1913–19; Marius de Zayas, New York, 1919