Cornelis Pieter Meulendijk (1912-1979), Rotterdam
By descent from the above
Christie's London, The Meulendijk Collection of Tribal Art - Part 1, October 21, 1980, lot 275
Maureen Zarember, New York
Allan Stone, New York, acquired from the above on July 15, 1981
Museum voor Land- en Volkenkunde, Rotterdam, Indonesië-Oceanië: Kunst uit particulier bezit. Tentonstelling in het Museum voor Land- en Volkenkunde te Rotterdam, July 27 - October 3, 1965
Museum voor Land- en Volkenkunde te Rotterdam, Indonesië-Oceanië: Kunst uit particulier bezit. Tentonstelling in het Museum voor Land- en Volkenkunde te Rotterdam, Rotterdam, 1965, pl. 93, cat. 388
Currently the subject of a major exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (Kanak, l'Art est une parole
, October 15, 2013 - January 26, 2014), the sculptural arts of the Kanak people of New Caledonia figured prominently in some of the earliest displays of Oceanic art in Europe, including the exhibits at the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro in Paris beginning in the 1880s. In the early years of the 20th century these displays served as a key inspiration to modernists such as Vlaminck, Derain, Braque and Picasso, who found liberation in the expressive, imaginitive forms. Pablo Picasso famously owned a pair of Kanak figures which appear behind him in a 1908 photograph of his studio, and according to Rubin (1984: 298) are referenced in his early cubist paintings. A mask of similar design to the present mask was previously in the collection of Maurice de Vlaminck and is today in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Chartres (see
Kasarherou 1993: 65).
According to Kjellgren (2007: 191), "Kanak masking traditions largely ceased by the late ninteenth century, primarily owing to the influence of Christian missionaries, and little firsthand information survives regarding their imagery and significance."