The Mahongwe mask

Extracted from the Douglas Newton book : Masterpieces in the Barbier-Müller Museum.

The Mahongwe mask              The Mahongwe mask

The Mahongwe mask

This mask has always been considered as an inspiration for Pablo Picasso while painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in 1907. Researchs carried out by William Rubin in 1984 for the exhibition "Primitivism" have lead to the conclusion that the similiraties are unintentional.

We will never know the role played by this mask in the work of Picasso, but I think the whole primitive african art has a  significant influence on modern artists like Arman, Giacometti, etc...

Loungers, are you interested in such artworks with underlying primitive art ?

"African Art? Never head of it"
09/17/2007 - 12:17

were words pronounced by Picasso when talking about his inspiration on the Demoiselles d'Avignon. Rubin also states Picasso having said during a visit to the Ethnographic Museum at the Trocadéro in Paris: “All alone in this frightful museum with masks, Red Indian dolls and dust-covered mannequins. The Demoiselles d’Avignon must have come to me that very day, but not at all because of the forms; because it was my first exorcism painting!”

As you say unconciously primitive arts must have influenced modern artists because we can find certain elements or hints in there works.

As for me I was rather unaware of primitive or primary arts until I visited the Museum of Primitive Arts in Paris (which I believe is the biggest museum of Primitive arts in the world) over a year ago. I was struck by the architecture of the museum and the way the objects were displayed but did not feel connected with what I saw.

As stupid as it may seem, its after discovering the Masques collection this year that I went back to the museum in Paris and this time I had a different "eye" on what was exhibited. I no longer looked at the objects as items which needed to speak to my aesthetic senses but rather as objects which are an intricate part of our history, objects which truly have soul because they were made with love and respect for certain events important in the lives of their makers.

Like Alex its the Masks collection which sparked my interest in the
09/17/2007 - 13:56

primitive arts. I don't really know much about them however I think that it is necessary to approach this artform with a whole new vision and forget all the aesthetic codes we are used to.

We should avoid any confusion
09/17/2007 - 14:46

The primitive art in the contemporary art has been chosen under a state of mind completely different from the clock industry; I do not think that it can be made a link between the contemporary art and the VC's Mask (used to decorate)

Still an artistic approach
09/17/2007 - 15:53

May be the approach is different, but it's still an artistic use of the Masks. I thinks it's not only on decorative purpose.

You can't compare art with horology as art is for me a unique
09/17/2007 - 16:40

interpretation of the artist's emotions however there is no denying that the Masks have an artistic approach which cannont be overlooked due to the fact that the work of the engravers and painters on the masks was not one of pure reproduction but of interpratation and the emotional appeal of these timepieces is in my opinion closer to art that pure craftsmanship

just my €0.2