In the early 1900’s modern artists took fine art in a new direction, trying to reduce each element to it’s most pure form. Mondrian distilled his paintings into combinations of nothing but primary colors and lines. Rothko floated box over box in simple compositions. In an effort to move art forward, Picasso looked backward to traditional tribal art. Moved by the work of the most primitive peoples, Picasso found his muse and the cubist movement emerged.
Without being encumbered by accurate representation, tribal artisans can put forth pieces completely pure of intent. Created to inspire fear or inspiration, African art is taken to ends which might well be described as impressionistic, or elemental, or cubist, or ironically….modern.
The lack of proper proportions and fanciful departure from reality do nothing to decrease the impact of an African artifact, and in fact only add to it’s potency. There is no genre of art that is more pure or compelling. The magic passes from artist to art – and in turn to you, the collector.