An extraordinary figure, the first 20th-century businesswoman, a self-made and emancipated woman, a visionary... There is no shortage of superlatives to describe the incredible rise to fame of Helena Rubinstein (1870-1965), dubbed the Empress of beauty by Cocteau, but her role as an experienced collector and a pioneer in the recognition of African and Oceanic arts in Europe and North America is often overlooked. Primarily amassed in Paris through her various encounters, "Madame’s collection", now dispersed, comprised over 400 pieces of non-European art including precious Kota and Fang reliquary guardians, exceptional Baoulé, Bamana, Senoufo and Dogon pieces. The exhibition places the spotlight on her passion for non-Western arts - primarily African art - through sixty pieces, as well as her fascination for their expressive intensity and character.
"Africa is continuing". New forms of traditional art are being created every day and classic works of African art continue to inspire today's contemporary artists. Explore the influence the classics have on contemporary works.
Ndubuisi “Endy” C. Ezeluomba, Françoise Billion Richardson Curator of African Art at the New Orleans Museum of Art, shares his thoughts on restitution, connecting the classic and contemporary, and the future of African art.
I had the pleasure and the honour of being asked to collaborate on the preparation of this important exhibition. The following presentation, which accompanies the event, is the result of the joining of forces between those that knew and appreciated Ezio Bassani.