The Museum Dapper is a private Parisian museum created in 1986 which defines itself as a «space of arts and of cultures for Africa, the Caribbean and their diasporas».
His name pays tribute to a Dutch humanist of the XVIIth century, Olfert Dapper.
Olfert Dapper foundation is born in Amsterdam in 1983, in initiative of polytechnicien Michel Leveau, industrialist, to recommend Africain governments  and soon possessor of «one of the most abundant collections of African art in Europe».
Asserting his will to help in knowledge and in preservation of the heritages of sub-Saharan Africa, foundation allocates grants of studies and of research in the domains of history and of ethnology, as well as help to publications. A non-profitmaking organisation is created in 1984 by the president and his wife. Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau, native to Guyana and alumna of Maryse Cop, is then journalist specialised in the literature of the black world.
In May, 1986 she takes the direction of the museum which becomes established first in a private residence of the avenue Victor-Hugo, constructs by Charles Plumet in 1901, a modest space (500 m ²) which they achieve by a small court planted of bamboos and brackens.
Three exhibitions are organised at the same time the first year, among which two in the private residence, The Offices of curiosity in the XVIIth century and Faces of reliquary said kota. Third – the most important – is held in the Museum of decorative arts and is expressly called Openings on Africain art. Around thirty thematic demonstrations succeed one another then. Those on the fang sculptor in 1991 (60 000 visitors) or dogons arts in 1994 (100 000 visitors) are particularly pointed out.
Editions Dapper develop in parallel and some of the thick catalogues are many times reissued, the often only available iconographic resource on the most pointed subjects. Works for youth are thrown in 1998, then a collection of literature.
A new space
Between 1998 and 2001 a new plan takes shape in an annexed space, but access of which will be made from now on by the street Paul-Valéry. Entrusted to Alain Moatti, internal architecture and stage design have not only as vocation to emphasise objects. It is a question of conceiving a multidisciplinary environment which, besides exhibitions and conferences, will also receive literature, tale, music, dance or cinema, notably thanks to a room of shows with a capacity of 165 - 190 persons, supplemented by a bookshop and a coffee. Musicians such as Guem (Algeria), Ballaké Sissoko (Mali) or Omar Sosa (Cuba) could be welcomed there.
The new museum is inaugurated on November 30th, 2000. From now on the door opens also more widely in contemporary creation, for example in bronzes of the Senegalese sculptor Ousmane Sow – three first – either in the installations of his compatriot Ndary Lô, such as Échographie I, III, II (1998-1999) or Xiif (1999-2001), or in writings coloured with the painter Wifredo Lam which reflect his numerous origins.
The Museum Dapper became a true firm which used 18 persons in 2002. He acquired over the years a solid reputation in a capital where Africain arts could for a long time seem neglected. The opening of the Museum of the Quay Branly in 2006 changes deal of course today. «How are you going to resist?», a question often put down to Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau is, herself member of the advice of direction of the state-owned company of the Museum of the Quay Branly from 1999 to the end of 2004. The head of the museum Dapper proves to be confident and puts forward synergy and complementarity.
From ethnography to aesthetics
Among many others, the incontestable success of the museum Dapper manifests a change of paradigm in the way to introduce to the visitors of the worlds different from ours : the museums of ethnography, considered "mutilating " and reducing, give the place up from now on to art museums. The aesthetic approach of unique and original objects takes it on the large methodically researched collections. The Africain art notably won at it in popularity, in consideration, but also in street value.
The museum is opened only during exhibitions temporary - one or two a year.
The list below is not exhaustive.
The way of the ancestors (November 6th, 1986 - February 7th, 1987)
Abstractions in the kingdoms of Kuba: Shoowa drawing (February 18th, 1987 - May 16th, 1987)
Art and mythology: faces tshokwe (October 13th, 1988 - February 25th, 1989)
Spoons-sculptures (January 3rd, 1991 - April 28th, 1991)
Fang (November 21st, 1991 - April 15th, 1992)
Sublime bodies (May 19th, 1994 - October 3rd, 1994)
Dogon (October 26th, 1994 - March 13th, 1995)
Containers (October 23rd, 1997 - March 30th, 1997)
Hunters and warriors (April 30th, 1998 - September 30th, 1998)
First three bronzes of Ousmane Sow (April 26th on June 30th, 2001)
Hybrid Lam (September 26th, 2001 - January 20th, 2002)
Art in motion of Ndary Lo (February 13th, 2002 - July 21st, 2002)
The kôngo gesture (September 18th, 2002 - January 19th, 2003)
Ghana yesterday and today (March 7th, 2003 - July 13th, 2003)
Finery of head (September 25th, 2003 - July 11th, 2004)
Signs of the body (September 23rd, 2004 July-17, 2005)
Brazil, Africain inheritance (September 22nd, 2005 - March 26th, 2006)
Contemporary Senegal (April 27th, 2006 - July 13th, 2006)
Masks, 50 faces (April 27th, 2006 - July 13th, 2006)
Gabon, presence of minds (September 20th, 2006 - July 22nd, 2007)
Animal (October 11th, 2007 - July 20th, 2008)
Women in the arts of Africa (October 9th, 2008 - July 12th, 2009)
african art / art africain / primitive art / art primitif / arts
premiers / art gallery / art tribal / tribal art / l'oeil et la main /
galerie d'art premier / Agalom / Armand Auxiètre /
www.african-paris.com / www.agalom.com