Pierre Harter, Paris
Private Collection, Paris, acquired from the above in the 1980s
Sotheby's, New York, November 15, 2002, lot 31, consigned by the above
Private Collection, acquired at the above auction
This Dogon mask is notable for its remarkably rigorous and architectural form, with the horizontal lines of the mouth contrasting with the concave, arching vertical forms which delineate the nose and the sides of the head.
This style of mask is known as dege, the name for a black monkey, a creature noted for its unpredictability, gluttony, and general villainy. The dege mask appears in an "obscene or comic performance" which illustrates these character traits (Richards, "What's in a Dogon Mask", Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, Nos. 49 & 50, 2006, p. 108).
For other masks of this type see the example collected by the Mission Paulme-Lifchitz in 1935, now in the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, Paris (inv. no. 71.1935.105.34), photographed in 1936 by Man Ray, and another in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (inv. no. 1977.394.35).