Lot 119
  • 119

We (Ngere) Mask, Gere Subgroup, Ivory Coast

Estimate
40,000 - 60,000 USD
Sold
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Description

  • wood, human hair
  • Height: 11 1/2 in (29.2 cm)

Provenance

Henri Kamer, Paris, by 1971
Pace Primitive, New York
Alain Bovis, Paris

Exhibited

Galerie Kamer, New York, Magic African Art, November 1971

Literature

Henri Kamer, Magic African Art, New York, 1971
William Rubin, "Primitivism" in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern, New York, 1984, p. 591
Marie-Noël Verger-Fèvre, "Masks of the We in Western Côte d'Ivoire", Tribal: The Magazine of Tribal Art, no. 37, Spring 2005, p. 111

Catalogue Note

The present mask, illustrated alongside the essay on Dada and Surrealism on the occasion of William Rubin's 1984 monograph "Primitivism" in 20th Century Art: Affinities of the Tribal and the Modern, is a conceptual masterpiece of Guere art. In her recent study on We and Guere masks, Marie-Noël Verger-Fèvre (2005: 111) identifies it as either war (te'e gla) or wisdom (gla kla'a) mask. According to this study (loc. cit.: 107-108), the war mask "belongs to the category of great masks by virtue of its age and of its importance in the lineage to which it belongs. This mask once played a prominent role in We lineages because it intervened in matters of tribal warfare, which was widespread before the arrival of European colonials. [...] The great mask of wisdom, gla kla'a, appears in public on rare and solemn occasions. It is present at commemorative ceremonies and the funerary rites of important individuals and high Gla dignitaries. It also appears once every decade or so, apparently for the singular purpose of exhibiting it. Whenever it appears, the full procession of masks takes place before it."
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