African Art: a prestigious Swiss collection

Milan, Wednesday 14 October 2020


Baulé (Ivory Coast)

Hardwood with a dark coating
H 51 cm
Female figure.
It represents a female figure with a hairstyle constructed from two large locks, each different to the other, a detail that identifies the grand masters of Baulé.This model bears witness to an unusual style of Baulé art, because the figure is sculpted with full volumes. She faces the front with her feet resting on a circular pedestal. Her arms are away from her body and the face is grafted onto the strong neck. Her hands, positioned resting on her stomach, captures a gesture that the Baulé consider to be a sign of peace. It is found in almost all Baulé figures depicted standing up.A beautiful dark coating shows it has been used for a long time, confirmed by the wear in the wood and the numerous traces of sacrificial substances. Several tattoos are present on the neck and back. A ring of glass beads surrounds the right leg. There are traces of green rust left by three copper tacks which had originally been applied on the forehead and temples.


€ 20.000 - 24.000

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- Helmut Gernsheim antique collection (Castagnola in Lugano);
- Former private collection (Lugano);


- Lugano 2002, Palazzo Riva, Banca Svizzera Italiana (BSI);


Reproduced in:
- LOUDMER & POULAIN "Arts Primitifs" Paris asta del 22 Novembre 1979, lotto 40; (*)
- VENTURI LUCA M. “Anime antiche, arte negra, da una raccolta di sculture dell’Africa occidentale” BSI Bank, Lugano 2002, fig. 22;

(*) In the catalog of the sale (22 november 1979) this statue was described by the expert français Charles Ratton (1895 – 1996) as follows:
“Statue of a stocky woman, hands resting on the lower abdomen, asymmetrical hairstyle made of two big buns and braids, small scarifications on the neck and at the top of the back”. High 0.49 m / 19,2 inches (15.000/25.000 F.F.)


African Art

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