Ceil Pulitzer started her journey as a collector of African art more than 40 years ago. Her artistic spirit has drawn her to all forms of culture and human expression. As a dedicated painter, she has relentlessly exercised her eye in the study of art and art history.
As a collector of modern art first, she understood that African art shaped the trajectory of 20th-century art. Later, in Paris, she met the venerable expert and legendary dealer of African art, Charles Ratton.
In one brief meeting, he said to her: “You have a good eye.”
This encounter distilled her passion and pursuit of excellence in classical African art.
The Ceil and Michael Pulitzer Foundation has developed and supported a number of philanthropic endeavours in Africa, and in major institutions that promote the art of Africa and humanitarian efforts there.
Novelist, poet, and civil rights activist James Baldwin (1924–87) discusses the Yombe maternity in the catalogue of the exhibition 'Perspectives: Angles on African Art at New York’s Museum for African Art' (1987, p. 120):
"The key is her stance, the way she holds the baby in one hand—she’s at once preparing the baby and preparing to let him go."
“She sees what he’s going to be facing and he doesn’t see it yet. The baby is turned toward her. She has one hand protecting him, on his head. It may be that the baby is facing that way but I think not. I think the baby is facing towards her."
"Her eyes look far-seeing—into the baby’s future. She might be anointing the baby. She’s preparing him, in any case, for a journey. She knows about the journey—he doesn’t yet. And she’s also warning his enemies. Ah, but again, another time and space."
'Beauty Unusual: Masterworks from the Ceil Pulitzer Collection of African Art' will be released on 11 January 2021 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.
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