Archeo has specialized in museum-quality, African art since opening. Originally, our staff traveled to villages (in Mali, Burkino Faso, the DRC) to purchase masks and artifacts from tribal leaders. Political unrest and the pandemic have prevented this for some time, but luckily, we retain excellent connections and sources. In addition, we acquire from the private collections of experts and former gallerists, many with treasure troves purchased in the ‘60s and ‘70s. And, we’ve held tight to the hope of traveling to Africa again.
How to describe the wonder of African art?
An exhibit at the Metropolitan in New York City last year, “The African Origin of Civilization,” honored the continent as “the birthplace of modern humanity.”
This theme repeated at the annual Parcours De Monde event in Paris we attended in September, and at the city’s Pablo Picasso Museum, with an entire room devoted to African art as inspiration for the legendary artist. In essence: without African art, a Cubist movement wouldn’t have existed. No abstract faces by Picasso, Braque, Brancusi, Giacometti, or Léger. A world-renowned painting like Les Demoiselles d’Avignon––in which two figures wear African masks––wouldn’t exist. Seeing the masks and artifacts at the Parcours De Monde event was, as the MET put it, “a poetic, cross-cultural comparison.” You’d see a mask and simultaneously see how it profoundly informed abstract art.
Soaked in these experiences (and an amount of French food and wine) we headed onward to our final destination: Cape Town, South Africa. It involved quite a treasure hunt (as many galleries in the country closed during Covid) but we found, eventually, a wonderful collection of masks, artifacts, and textiles to bring home. We’re thrilled to display these pieces––among the finest we’ve acquired––and hope you’ll visit the ancient art for modern living they represent. You can also view the collection on our website.