Lot 19
  • 19

Dan Mask, Ivory Coast or Liberia

100,000 - 150,000 USD
149,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • wood


Reportedly Dr. Charles Stéphen-Chauvet, Paris (also known as Stephen Chauvet or Stéphen-Charles Chauvet)
Lance and Roberta Entwistle, London
Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Hollander, St. Louis
Sotheby's, New York, November 19, 1999, lot 86, consigned by the above
Myron Kunin, Minneapolis, acquired at the above auction


Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Masks from the West African Dan People, June 12 - November 28, 2010


Lance and Roberta Entwistle (adv.), African Arts, Vol. XIV, No. 3, May 1981, back cover
Warren M. Robbins and Nancy I. Nooter, African Art in American Collections. Survey 1989, Washington and London, 1989, p. 169, fig. 331

Catalogue Note

The deep, bold features of this old and extraordinarily refined mask are the work of a confident and ingenious master sculptor.  The sensitive expression, with furrowed brow and doleful, heavy-lidded eyes, is accomplished with faceted geometric planes, fusing the naturalistic beauty of classic Dan sculpture with an inventively cubistic style.  The deep, glossy patina, the erosion on the reverse and outer edge, and the multiplicity of attachment holes suggest that this mask was highly prized and preserved in situ for a long period of ritual use prior to its arrival in the West.

The present mask was reportedly owned by the French medical doctor Charles Stéphen-Chauvet (born Stéphen-Charles Chauvet and sometimes referred to as Stephen Chauvet; see Altman 2004), an important early scholar and promoter of arts from primary cultures.  Stéphen-Chauvet was the author of Les arts indigènes des colonies françaises of 1924, and most famously L'Île de Pâques et ses mystères, published in 1935, which was the first comprehensive study of Easter Island art.