February 19 to May 11, 2008
From the sixteenth century, a number of pieces of ivory carved by African artists, from areas that correspond to the mouth of the Congo, Sierra Leone and Nigeria today, came in aristocratic collections, less like objects curiosities than as exotic and luxurious pieces. This exhibition brings together twenty of the oldest African objects collected by Europeans and now kept in French collections, accompanied by documentary highlighting the historical depth of the African continent and its productions and the question of the use of iconographic between Europe and Africa. African ivory presents the public a little known aspect of the history of taste and art history.
Commissioner: EZIO BASSANI
Italian from Varese, a leading specialist in African art, Ezio Bassani began in 1973, to compile the catalog of African sculpture in museums in Italy. From 1977 he taught African art history at the Università Internazionale dell'Arte (UIA) in Florence.
Through his historical knowledge, he was appointed to the Scientific Committee of the University of Florence (UIA)., Editorial Committee of the journal Critica d'Arte, the Committee of Advisers international publishing the Journal of the History of Collections Oxford. He also served on the Scientific Council of the Mission foreshadowing Museum of Arts and Civilization (Musée du Quai Branly) in Paris.
Alongside these responsibilities, Ezio Bassani has been the commissioner - and the author catalogs - several exhibitions that were held in France, Italy, the United States, Japan, Switzerland and Belgium. He has made Africa the exhibition, masterpieces from one continent to Turin in 2004.
in the former French collections
The arrival in Europe of works of African ivory in the late fifteenth century, at the time of early exploration and early nineteenth century, when the continent becomes a territory of conquest to the colonial powers, reveals existence of hitherto unsuspected advanced African civilizations. While some ivories were intended for indoor use, such as olifants, marks of dignity, others were created at the request of Portuguese navigators for export. Denotes the second set as the "Afro-Portuguese ivories." These parts were refined including prized by kings and princes, lovers of exotic curiosities. The catalog presents twenty-five sculptures African ivory from the mouth of the Congo, Sierra Leone and Nigeria today. Rich photographs focusing especially close-ups, and many documents (engravings, drawings, paintings ...), he emphasized the length and richness of French collections while providing a better understanding of the context of contact between Europe and Dark Continent.