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Monni Adams

Monni Adams - Tribute

United States

Dr. Monni Adams passed away on December 24, 2014, at age ninety-four. Born Jeanne Marie Grozanich in Portland, Oregon, on October 27, 1920, Monni rarely spoke of her childhood or her life before entering academia in the early 1960s. She earned a doctorate under the direction of Douglas Fraser in 1967 from Columbia University in what was then known as the field of primitive art. Her 660-page dissertation, “System and Meaning in East Sumba Textile Design: A Study in Traditional Indonesian Art,” was based on extensive ethnographic field research in Indonesia. Riding the wave of Lévi-Straussian structuralism in the 1970s, Monni published a seminal essay on the anthropology of art and the relationship between the compositional principles of textile design in East Sumba and patterns of social organization (“Structural Aspects of a Village Art,” American Anthropologist, 1973).

Rosa Amorós

Rosa Amorós


An impassioned and fascinating personality hides behind Rosa Amorós’ frail and discreet appearance, and her eyes light up when the word “art” is mentioned. A recognized artist in her native Spain, her life was centered around her studio and at the Escola Massana in Barcelona, an art and design center where from 1971 until 2005 she taught ceramic arts, the discipline in which she most distinguished herself creatively. She was also a regular presence at museums, exhibition venues, and art fairs. She shared twenty years of her life with Gustavo Gili, an editor and book publisher specialized in the engravings of great Western artists such as Picasso, Miró, Saura, Michaux, among many others, as well as in art, design, and architecture, prior to his passing in 2006. Together they assembled a tribal art collection that is as eclectic in its composition as it is coherent in spirit.

Armand Arman

Armand Arman - Tribute


On October 22, 2005, the worlds of modern and tribal art lost one of the great artists and collectors of our time. While these two pursuits may seem contradictory, many European artists of his generation and the generation before were intensely interested in primitive art, actively collected it, and—as with Arman—such objects illuminated their work. I arrived in New York in 1971, fresh from art school, and to support myself took on many jobs, most related to the fine art world. I worked as a studio assistant to Jack Youngerman, and also as a member of installation crews for museums and contemporary galleries. The next year I heard that Arman was looking for an assistant to handle the day-to-day affairs in his studio and help in the fabrication of his work. A few years before I had read an interview with Marcel Duchamp, in which he said that Arman was the most cultured artist in France. I never forgot Duchamp’s judgment of a fellow artist, and was anxious to meet and, if possible, work with him...

Roger  Asselberghs

Roger Asselberghs - Tribute


Mr. Asselberghs (1925–2013) was a jazz musician and a photographer, both for advertising and of art objects. He left us this last October. There are determining moments in a career. One such moment came for me in 1977 when I met Roger Asselberghs—an elegant, disciplined, talented, and affable man, who was always melodiously whistling classic jazz tunes. It was an encounter with his clarinet, which he played wonderfully well, and with the fine musicians who accompanied him every Thursday evening at a studio on Rue de la Longue Haie in Brussels. And it was an encounter with objects—which were unknown to me at the time—from fascinating civilizations, and which major dealers of the time, such as Gisele Croës, Émile Deletaille, and Philippe Guimiot, as well as private collectors, brought to him...

Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller

Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller - Tribute


Jean-Paul, when I reread the hundreds of emails you sent me, I worry that my weak prose might make you smile. Because everything is to be found in what you wrote: biblical, literary, and artistic knowledge; clever commentary, often humorous and sometimes ferocious. Your judgments on our common passions—on dealers, collectors, auction houses—have been as expected as they were feared, and they were always pertinent. Your superb magazine, Arts and Cultures, was a refl ection of its founder, and the two words of its title perfectly express and embody who you are. Your son Gabriel, who produced an exhibition on the Samurai, said of this order that they wanted to teach honor, benevolence, loyalty, writing, and poetry to the young. You have done all that—as a collector, a museum director, an exhibition curator, and a researcher, but particularly as a friend.

Ezio Bassani

Ezio Bassani - Tribute


AFTER A BRIEF ILLNESS, Ezio Bassani, the doyen of Italian Africanists, left us on a hot morning in the beginning of August 2018. He was about to reach his ninety-fourth birthday. He was tired but alert, and he was still working on a concept for a new exhibition a few days before his death. To the very end Bassani stayed true to himself: passionate, engaged, intransigent, and a “partisan” of the universal values that the African continent’s artistic expressions manifest. Bassani had been a real partisan long ago when he joined the resistance against fascism and Nazism in the later years of WWII. As he fought side by side with other young combatants in the mountains, he dreamed of a better future for Italy. In these dramatic circumstances he met Edmea, also a partisan, who became his wife, his muse, and his partner for seventy years. He had not yet fallen in love with African art, but this experience forged his character and shaped his nature. After the war, Bassani frequented a milieu of artists, and through them, almost by accident, he discovered African art. It was love at fi rst sight—a total and all but physical passion was born in him. Self-taught, he did what he could to learn about the fi eld in Italy, though it was practically unknown there. He studied, made observations and mistakes, and progressed until he found his path. The chance he had been waiting for was offered to him in the 1970s by noted art critic Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, who opened the doors of the International University of Florence to him and oriented him toward the history of public and private collections, particularly the older and established ones. (...) Read more in the Winter Issue of Tribal Art magazine (T90).

Jan Baum

Jan Baum - Tribute

Gallery owner
United States

Jan was born in Newark, New Jersey, a stone’s throw from New York City on the Hudson tubes, which she utilized frequently as a teenager, to take her to the museums and galleries of the Big Apple. She learned two lessons early on that shaped her later life. When she was five, she and a group of older playmates decided to have a race, she on her tricycle and they on bikes. After coming in a humiliating last, she said to herself, “I will never come in last again, and I will do my best to come in first.” She realized that goal by studying, reading, and observing, and at fifteen she graduated high school as class valedictorian and the winner of the science award. The second lesson came when she was gallery-going in New York and found a small Paul Klee painting for $950. It was more than she had, but...
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José Bedia

José Bedia - Tribute

United States

José Bedia is an internationally exhibited contemporary painter. Born in Cuba, he now lives in South Florida and, over the years, has amassed a substantial collection of artworks from traditional cultures around the world. His own art has a power and hieraticism that is unusual for contemporary art and brings to mind certain aspects of tribal art, a relationship that he is quick to confi rm. We recently had the opportunity to chat with José about his collection and a bit about his artistic processes.

Don Benett

Don Benett - Tribute

United States

In late March of this year, Don Bennett, an Indian art collector, dealer, and founder of the prestigious Whitehawk Antique Shows, died quickly yet tragically in a single-car auto accident in California. Thirty-four years ago, Don had the idea to gather some of his fellow collectors together in Santa Fe so that they could buy, sell, and trade from each other. Inviting about 100 dealers to join him at the Santa Fe Hilton, collectors went from room to room buying and selling Indian art, and thus the annual White-hawk Antique Shows were born. Don was a warm and friendly man known for his quick wit mid indomitable sense of humor, who always had time to share his vast knowledge of antique Indian art...

Federico Benthem

Federico Benthem - Tribute


On February 16, 2017, Federico embarked on the most intense voyage of his life—the one that would take him to the next world. Born in the Andalusian town of Málaga on November 20, 1944, Federico Benthem Gross was the grandson of Julia Loring Heredia, the third Marquesa of Casa Loring, and of Ricardo Gross Orueta, the founder of the Museo Loringiano de Arqueologia de Málaga. While still a young child, Federico received an important gift of artworks from his grandfather. It marked the beginning of his life as a collector and the birth of a limitless passion for archaeology and antiquity that would shape his existence. At the age of eighteen, Federico left for Barcelona to pursue architecture studies. During this time, he also took his first trips to the American continent, where he visited Peru and especially Mexico, developing interest in the pre-Hispanic cultures, the artworks of which he actively began to collect. He was a tireless adventurer and traveled the world as his passion for the traditional cultures of the Americas, Africa, Oceania, and Asia continued to grow. His enduring fascination for art and culture gave rise to his decision to become an art dealer... Discover the full article by downloading the PDF below!