All the people reviews
Peter Rona - Tribute
If you’ve been to a tribal art show anytime in the last few decades, you may or may not have noticed a quiet, rather slight man with inquiring blue eyes carefully but unobtrusively examining artwork after artwork and exchanging pleasantries with various dealers. This was Dr. Peter Rona. You might not have guessed it to look at him but this was one of the world’s preeminent deep-sea explorers and oceanographers, who was also a passionate enthusiast of traditional art from cultures around the world. Born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1934, Peter took an early interest in rocks and minerals and in learning about the world around him. After completing a bachelors degree at Brown and a masters at Yale in geology, he met a group of oceanographers who were in New York for a conference in late 1958. Talking to them hooked him on the ocean—the last frontier on earth, as he referred to it—the exploration of which he was to devote his life to. He went back to Yale and, after a stint with an oceanographic lab at Columbia studying the physics of sound in the sea, received a Ph.D. in marine geology and geophysics in 1967. Soon after, he got a research position with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and, in 1994, a professorship at Rutgers University. He spent his career exploring and mapping the deep Atlantic with dredges, cameras, echo sounders, and all sorts of hightech equipment, as well as personal observation using small deep-sea submarines. He reckoned that he had probably spent more time in submersibles on the bottom of the ocean than any other marine scientist. Perhaps his most lauded success came in 1985 when he and his expedition discovered thermal vents in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that, in addition to their vast commercial potential, were home to and entire ecosystem of life forms never before seen by man and possibly providing clues about the very formation of life on earth. Subsequently, Between 1999 and 2003, Rona and his Rutgers colleague, Richard Lutz, served as science directors for Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, an IMAX film that took viewers down with them to explore deep-sea vents in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The film has since been seen by 165 million people around the world. Peter’s collecting was a low-key pursuit—so much so that even his family didn’t know much about—but he amassed a collection of hundreds of artworks. He was a regular attendee of art shows and gallery events, both large and small, in the United States and Europe. Rather than chasing masterpieces, he gravitated toward objects that had personal meaning to him—ones that he found on his travels around the world or pieces that he acquired from dealers that he had friendships with, sometimes just to help them out of a tight spot. In this, he was an uncommonly kind and generous individual, something that I experienced first-hand. Discovering my fondness for coffee, for years he regularly sent me packages of a delicious Cuban blend that he had some means of accessing through his network of contacts. Peter left us in February of this year. His quiet presence will be truly missed, both above the waves and below.
James J. Ross
James Ross is a name familiar in the tribal art world as a New Yorker who has amassed one of the finest privately held collections of traditional African art in the Western Hemisphere, if not the world. Most dealers have encountered him at one time or another and if you've seen a themed museum show in the U.S. in recent years, you've probably seen some of his objects. They'll have been among the most exquisite ones. Ross' collection started with no particular intent or focus. New York artist Chaim Gross had been a friend of his parents and Ross was familiar with his important collection of African art that was installed in his studio...
William Rubin - Tribute
An influential figure of the twentieth-century art world recently left our midst. William Stanley Rubin, former head of the department of painting and sculpture at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, passed away at his weekend home in Pound Ridge, New York, on January 22. A long-time resident of Manhattan, he was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Rubin was instrumental in shaping and maintaining the curatorial perspective that MoMA has been identified with for decades. He was hired by founding director Alfred H. Barr Jr. and joined the department of painting and sculpture in 1967 as a curator. He became its director in 1973 and held this position until he retired in 1988. While Barr had seen the museum’s primary mission as defining Modernism, Rubin expanded into Abstract Expressionism and beyond, while carefully supporting the institution’s original concepts. He was responsible for adding signature works to the collection (some donated from his personal collection), which he further refined by deaccessioning redundant and irrelevant works. In both of these tasks, he worked closely with artists, artists’ estates, collectors, and art dealers from around the world...
Patrick Sargos - Tribute
I met Patrick Sargos twelve years ago through Renaud Riley, who had asked me to entrust him with some pieces to show to some collectors. After this, a meeting took place with Patrick and Catherine Sargos in my gallery. We talked so much about the objects that I began to wonder if they had really come to buy or if their interest was primarily to talk and exchange ideas. In fact, their aesthetic sensibilities, accompanied by their deep interest in the original function of the object in its culture of origin, made them quite unusual among collectors. And this is exactly what nurtured our relationship over all these years—an ongoing exchange about objects with them and also with their son, Nicolas. Relatively few collectors of African art have traveled in Africa and even fewer have lived there...
Catherine & Patrick Sargos
Where did their passion for Africa come from? There is a distant family past in which Patrick's ancestors owned farm and forest land in the Congo, where they settled at the end of the nineteenth century. More likely it is the years spent doing aid work in Mauritania and then in Dakar that forged the taste and the eyes of these two collectors. Steering clear of fads and trends, and taking a contrarian approach in their acquisitions, Patrick and Catherine Sargos define themselves above all as lovers of Africa and it's people. We met with the impassioned couple at the time that the town of Agen, France, was exhibiting a selection of their best pieces...
Dr. Karl-Ferdinand Schädler is well known for his substantial contributions to the field of African art. His many books on the subject serve as valuable resources for both scholars and collectors, and the sale of his collection in New York at Sotheby’s in 1999 brought many fascinating objects to light, including a notable Luba figurative axe, which deserves a seat in the pantheon of masterpieces of world art. It was only by chance that Schädler ran into African art when his first mission as an economic adviser took him to Côte d’Ivoire in 1964, along with two engineers from Paris, to examine the preparatory transportation plan for that country. At that time, the national capital, Abidjan, was also the linchpin for African art from Liberia to Cameroon. He stayed there at the Hôtel du Parc, located on the “Plateau,” just across from the main market for African art...
For almost three decades, Richard Scheller has been building a world-class collection of African art that has become all but legendary for both its breadth and its quality. Working first as a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University and now for thirteen years as the vice president in charge of research at the biotech giant Genentech, Richard and his wife, Sue, have maintained a relatively modest living situation in the San Francisco Bay Area, but their living room is a stunning treasure trove of African masterpieces. If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing them there, you’ll have a chance to see them in the upcoming exhibition Embodiments: Masterworks of African Figurative Sculpture at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, which will be on view from January 31 to July 5, 2015. We had the pleasure of chatting with Richard recently about his collecting and his interest in African art.
Tobias Schneebaum - Tribute
Tobias Schneebaum, a wonderful man whose profound love for the people and culture of the Asmat has known no equal, passed away on September 20, 2005, in Great Neck, New York. Tobias was an artist and his devotion to the Asmat revealed the intimate depth of their world as no one else could have done. He authored and collaborated on many books that explained their artifacts and the myriad of their local styles. The Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress in Agats, whose collection he helped catalogue, is an indigenous museum which is truly connected to the lives of the local people. The extensive series of Asmat Sketch Books, which are adorned with Tobias’ beautiful drawings, are a unique celebration of the people and art that he loved. To reveal Asmat culture to the world, Tobias led countless groups of informed tourists to an understanding of a people who had just emerged from a life experience 20,000 years before our own...
Ladislas & Helena Segy
A woman resides on a stately tree-lined street in Manhattan’s Upper West Side whose face is familiar to many who have been to New York tribal art events and whose last name is instantly recognizable to anyone conversant with African art. Her husband passed away two decades ago, but she lives with what was, in effect, his family, a remarkable collection of African art. Helena Segy is Brazilian by birth and was married for thirty-five years to Ladislas Segy, whose association with African art was manifold—he was a dealer, collector, researcher, author and, above all, a deeply passionate enthusiast. She is a vivacious conversationalist who approaches life with zeal and energy that is challenging for someone even a generation or two her junior to keep pace with. Entering the elegant apartment that they shared is an overwhelming experience: a Fang head here, a Kota reliquary guardian there, African art everywhere—quite literally—with each piece precisely in its place...
Mohammed bin Ali Al-Thani Sheikh Saoud - Tribute
Qatar is an astonishing country. Barely the size of a piece of confetti in a geographical atlas, its influence and standing is global. Its ruler and its leaders strive for excellence and demand high accomplishment in the governance of their land, qualities that have become all too rare in the Western world. Sheikh Saoud, a close relative of the current emir, was the perfect realization of this spirit. He had a true gift, a vocation even, and one can say without exaggeration that he was entirely absorbed by it. He lived for art and was unquestionably the greatest collector of his time. But he was far more than that. All too often, private collections are ephemeral creations that ultimately go nowhere and are dissolved when their owners pass on. Sheikh Saoud, on the other hand, leaves great achievements behind, but his sudden and premature disappearance means that some of his work remains unfinished. The colossal means put at his disposition by the Qatari nation during the time he directed its Ministry of Culture combined with his innate talent and the speed with which he made decisions made it possible for Sheikh Saoud to assemble major collections of global significance in record time. These were intended to serve as the foundations for the creation of museums that would have made Doha the unrivaled cultural center of the Middle East. Unfortunately 2005 marked the end of his official position, and a freeze was put on the many extraordinary and unique cultural projects he had initiated. In his vision for these, he was a universalist and his activities and knowledge extended to all areas of human creativity, from the civilizations of antiquity to contemporary art. He was a notable autodidact and quickly learned the many details of the various fields he immersed himself in. His memory, particularly his visual memory, was infallible. He was a tireless worker and a great creative spirit. Press the pdf button to read the entire article.