118
118

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MYRON KUNIN, MINNEAPOLIS

Pende Mask, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Estimate
15,00025,000
JUMP TO LOT
118

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MYRON KUNIN, MINNEAPOLIS

Pende Mask, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Estimate
15,00025,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

|
New York

Pende Mask, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Provenance

Charles Ratton, Paris
Dr Helmut Beck, Stuttgart, acquired from the above in 1941
Sotheby's, London, The Beck Collection, October 8, 2002, lot 21
Myron Kunin, Minneapolis, acquired at the above auction

Catalogue Note

Masks with long projections extending beyond the chin, known as kiwoyo or giwoyo, were one of a few types that the Pende used in theatrical performances. In these contexts, dancers with this type of mask would perform in the bush and wear the headdresses on the skull like a baseball cap, such that the mask’s expression looks skyward. Since this horizontal arrangement prevented viewers from seeing the mask’s face, the intentional emphasis became the mask’s striking appearance in profile. Giwoyo masks may have represented a deceased dignitary lying flat in a coffin during a funeral ceremony, in reference to an ancient ritual that allowed a passage for the spirits of the deceased to exit the village.

Charles Ratton, the preeminent dealer of indigenous cultures’ art in the 20th century, propelled the evolution of taste in this type of art among Western audiences.  With close ties to the Parisian avant-garde, including André Breton, Tristan Tzara and Paul Éluard, Ratton helped to elevate the status of so-called 'primitive' arts, which he considered worthy of equal attention in the canons of world art.  Ratton has recently been the subject of new scholarship, including the publication and exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris entitled Charles Ratton, L’invention des arts “primitifs, held in 2013.

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

|
New York