The art gallery L'Oeil et la Main, located at Paris, is essentially devoted to primitive arts. To come at the gallery, an access plan is available in the category "Access". If you wish to receive informations about the coming exhibition by email, please leave us your email adress in the category "Subscription to the newsletter". This site is dedicated to the collectors. It was created by collectors for collectors. Our collections include works of art of the highest quality, but also more modest ethnic objects. Don't hesitate to contact us for any remarks or suggestions, we are always interested in the possible observations concerning the objects presented, not only because errors of attribution cannot be completely avoided, but also because the general knowledge is always built from multiple knowledge of each one. If you have the possibility of it, don't hesitate to visit us at the gallery at 41 rue de Verneuil, behind the Orsay museum. The constitution of a collection requires a lot of time and some sacrifices, then you must arm yourself with patience.
Dominating from the XIVth century the Bandiagra's cliffs, in Malia, DOGON initiated
a very old artistic production. Line and shape's style is the main criterion to show power
of rites organising their society. Each work is a deep representation of cosmogony structuring
A single cosmogony
As a patriarcal society, all professions have a ritual meaning according to God Amma and
his eight ancestors. DOGON or HEBBE means « pagan », who refuses to agree to Islam.
Amma looked like an egg, DOGON statues have always an ovoid head to make shown its
religious and initiation value.
The eight ancestors are associated to a profession and a colour:
Black smith and potter : red and blue
Farmer : white and green
Sculptor : orange
Speaker : green mill
Armand Auxiètre, managing Director at gallery « L'oeil et la main » choosed to present
for this exhibition a DOGON's maternity.
This choice to show how, even if maternity has the meaning of fertility, it is also full of
symbols and sacred characters evocating the powerfull world of spirits.
Threw these representations sculpture delicacy and DOGON patina underline its power.
Malia – wood- old patina
Maternity represents a woman sitting on a stool, very delicately sculpted, and keep her
child on knees. Chil tries to hold on her bosom.
A solemn expression and full of dignity mother's expression givest to this work an intense
dimension much more than showing daily life : cosmic energy emanating of this DOGON
The traditional african art, formerly called “negro art”, is subdivided into a multitude of local arts. For international museums have neglected african art for a long time, the majority of the works of art are as a result in the hands of private collectors and dealers. After the african countries' independences, many Europeans had come back in Europe with important collections, and gradually their collections fed the markets and the auctions. Objects The true passion for african art must in certain cases respect the object in its integrity, which thus means for example to accept the existence - without being impressed - of a layer of dried blood (sacrificial crust) collected during the ritual sacrifices. According to some collectors, the traces left by the use confer to these objects a magic aesthetic power that the others do not have. Among the african functional objects, one can also find everyday objects such as pulleys, locks of granaries, ladders, water-bottles pyrographed and weapons, personal objects (headstock of maternity, fetish), but also objects like decorative statues carved for the villas of the white people in the 1950's and 1960's, or like naive shops signs. These objects are "imitations” for the purists and “ethnos” for those who denigrate them, but these items, which have acquired patina, show things, often very beautiful and touching. For example the statues known as “colonists” are the image of the white man seen by the black man, and are often objects full of humour and of drolery (tropical helmet, gun with the belt, hands in the pockets). However, the today imitations make devastations, because in many african villages the craftsmen became masters in the art of patinate, all the more reason that, according to the experts it has become impossible to find a major work of art on the continent today. All is already in Europe, in the collectors (like the inhabitant of Brussels Willy Mestach), in the former colonists' families, or in the american museums. Because it became hard to find a ritual object, there are many robberies relating to these objects.
The african governments of their side let make because they do not demonstrate a lot of interest for the market of Africain art and avoid it, while a resolution appraise by the UNESCO forbid, since the beginning of 1990s, to get outside masks and statues of the african continent. But in facts, neither the UNESCO, nor the african governments have means to confine hemorrhage and to protect this heritage. More certain criticisms rose against such measure with as sales talk to say: « Nothing forbids the Europeans, the Americans or the Japanese to sell their writings abroad or to buy it. Why would this right be forbidden the Africans? » Africa stays, however, a natural artistic deposit of major importance, because throughout of this vast continent, there is thousands of tombs millenniums packaging, still, dozens thousand objects to be discovered. Some african museums, States of which have neither means nor will to undertake body searches, try to get organized and to offer to the traders of coeducational or joint body searches with as purpose to keep the most special rooms, and at least to be able to be interested in sales of the collected objects, to have means to implement a true policy of acquisition.
Today african art is a bottomless mine of inspiration for the creators who re-interpret it, but « out of its middle, withdrawn from its context, not only geographical but also social, the object loses its cultural identity. (...) The panoply of the "colonial" in the wall of the "collector" linked today to contemporary art, they tend to forget the relation of the Africain object with its middle of origin, forgetting of obvious ethnological involvement ».