Carel van Lier (1897-1945) opened his first Amsterdam gallery in 1921 and showed "old Asian art, a small collection of negro sculpture and other objects of beauty" (van Lier 2003: 126). In the same year, he also showed his first exhibition of abstract painting. Three years later, he opened a bigger gallery of the name Kunstzaal Van Lier which prospered over the next years. In 1926, he mentioned trades of African art with the famous Antwerp dealer Henry Pareyn, as well as the sale of "a Picasso," and in the 1930s several exiled German artists had exhibitions, including George Grosz and Max Beckmann (loc. cit.: 126-128). Van Lier's most important client was Eduard von der Heydt who introduced him to Muensterberger when the latter was still a teenager.
In his discussion of a pair of related figures at the occasion of the exhibition Africa: The Art of a Continent, Jane Martineau (in Phillips 1995: 149) notes: "The Vezo are a fishing population who should be distinguished from the surrounding Sakalava with whom they are often confounded and to whom Vezo funerary art is sometimes erroneously attributed. Vezo tombs are located in forests and sandy clearings distant from villages and are visited only for the purpose of burying the dead."
Male or female figures were placed inside rectangular box-like wood structures one corner of which would always point north-east. Martineau (loc. cit.) continues: "The north-east, the place where the sun rises, is associated both with dawn and with the most propitious of events: it is a good time to be born, the ideal moment for circumcision, or for the removal of a corpse which has been laid out in a hut. It is a sacred ancestral direction."
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