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William Siegmann

William Siegmann - Tribute

Events creator
United States

African art lost one of its luminaries when William Siegmann, Curator Emeritus of the Arts of Africa and the Pacific Islands at the Brooklyn Museum, passed away peacefully at his home on November 29, 2011. Bill had a long-standing and deeply personal connection to Liberia, which began with service in the Peace Corps in the late 1960s and continued throughout his life. He taught at Cuttington University, where he also founded the Africana Museum. Bill returned to Liberia to pursue research between 1974 and 1976, which was supported by a Fulbright-Hays fellowship. Upon his return to the U.S., he served as a curator, first at the Museum of the Society of African Missions, in Tenafly, NJ, and then at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco from 1979–84.

Dave Simmons

Dave Simmons - Tribute

New Zealand

David Simmons was one of New Zealand’s most prolifi c writers on Maori material culture and history, and he was a very close friend. Dave tirelessly strove to educate the wider world about Maori culture, its traditions, and its languages. He attributed his interest in all things Maori to his father, Wilf, who saved an ariki (a high chief’s son) from drowning. In return they gave Wilf the ariki name Te Puru from the Te Aitanga-a Mahaki tribe and taught him the Ariki language. Dave was the last speaker of this ancient language. He inherited the name Te Puru, and later he was also given the name Terehou by the Tuhoe elders. Born and educated in Auckland, he attended Auckland Teachers’ College from 1948 to 1950 and taught in Auckland, Kerepehi in the Waikato, and Naenae in Lower Hutt. After studying at the Sorbonne in Paris and the Université de Rennes in Brittany, he returned to New Zealand to teach at Waiotemarama in the Hokianga, and then at Papakura in Auckland. He used his spare time as a teacher to learn what he could from Maori elders. While teaching, he also studied at the University of Auckland, in 1976 publishing his master’s thesis as The Great New Zealand Myth: A Study of the Discovery and Origin Traditions of the Maori.

Merton Simpson

Merton Simpson - Tribute

United States

It is a privilege for me to be able to write these lines about the fascinating life of Merton Simpson, who was for a time the most active and important African art dealer in the world. Mert began by frequenting Julius Carlebach’s gallery in New York and familiarized himself there with the tribal art he had discovered in the course of his visual arts studies at New York University. This was a major challenge for the young aficionado. His passion and determination had to compensate for the dearth of iconographic and ethnographic information available to him at the time. Early in 1954, Mert opened his own gallery on Madison Avenue in New York City, and it gradually became a crossroads for all those interested in the field...

Sharon & Sam Singer

Sharon & Sam Singer

United States

If you’re seriously involved in the tribal art world, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve met Sam and Sharon Singer at some point. And if you haven’t, you should. They’re among the most sincere and enthusiastic aficionados of tribal art, and they are generous and welcoming with their collection, which is housed in their gracious San Francisco Bay Area home. Every collection has a particular personality and that of the Singers demonstrates this point in spades. Though they’ve been seriously collecting for fewer than two decades, they started out with a rare bit of discipline...

Marsha  Stanoff

Marsha Stanoff - Tribute

United States

Whenever visitors came to their home in Tarzana, California, Marsha and Saul Stanoff would always begin by showing them their garden in the backyard first. Not their exceptional collection of African, Oceanic and pre-Columbian art, carefully and thoughtfully built over nearly sixty years of marriage, but a freshly picked and fragrant orange, lemon, tangerine, or grapefruit. “Take some more, here! They will go to waste! Look at that one up there! Can you reach that?” They would lead the way along the winding, perfectly manicured path, skillfully designed and built by Saul, through the citrus and apple trees that bordered the pool...

Saul Stanoff

Saul Stanoff - Tribute

United States

On July 2, just shy of his eighty-ninth birthday, the tribal art world lost one of its greatest luminaries. Readers of TRIBAL know Saul Stanoff from an interview with him that appeared in Autumn 2003, and from his reputation as one of the world’s greatest collectors of African art. For those of us who had the privilege and the pleasure of personally knowing Saul, we are bereft with an incalculable sense of loss for a man whose name was synonymous with unflagging enthusiasm, rigorous connoisseurship, and the pursuit of knowledge. To Marsha, Saul’s wife of fifty-nine years, and his entire family, the world of tribal art deeply shares in your loss and mourns the passing of a dear friend...

Arnold & Joanne Syrop

Arnold & Joanne Syrop

United States

Arnold Syrop, an architect specializing in interior design, and Joanne Syrop, a painter, sculptor, and dancer, have an important and distinguished collection of miniature African bronzes. Their artistic backgrounds and life-long pleasure in surrounding themselves with beautiful objects to look at on a daily basis define their collecting. They seek formal tensions and a dynamic interplay of form, and they are ready to make bold choices in collecting both unusual, small sculptural compositions from lesser-known artistic centers as well as some one-of-a-kind objects. We sat down for a chat with Arnold in their New York home...

Gordon Sze

Gordon Sze

United States

When you step into Gordon Sze’s urban loft, the first thing you’re confronted with is a sense of order that is both aesthetic and ascetic. The gleaming wood floors are dark, the smooth walls are a subtle neutral shade, the lighting is subdued, and the furnishings are sparse. And then the artwork starts to emerge, all of it from the traditional cultures of the Pacific. It’s everywhere and it’s of the highest quality, existing seamlessly with the architectural environment that was designed for its display. A surprising number of objects are instantly recognizable. Gordon isn’t what you’d think of as a typical tribal art collector...

Loed van Bussel

Loed van Bussel - Tribute


The Tribal art world lost one if its longest serving members and a true doyen last March with the passing of Loed van Bussel in Amsterdam. Loed started his dealer career in his teens and in 1956 at the age of twenty opened his fi rst shop in The Hague, where he generalized in antiques and furniture of all sorts. Within a year or so, he had bought his fi rst tribal piece, a small Songye fi gure, and he soon focused exclusively on that field. He met his future wife, Mia, in 1964, and in 1970 they moved to Amsterdam, where they opened a gallery on the Spiegelplein. Later they moved into a townhouse in the museum quarter and split sales operations between the house’s first-floor gallery and a small shop on the nearby P.C. Hooftstraat. More recently, Loed shared his dealing activities with Mia and Els Verhey while quietly continuing at his loft apartment. [...]

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Régine van den Broek d’Obrenan

Régine van den Broek d’Obrenan - Tribute


At 105 years of age, Régine van den Broek d’Obrenan was the last surviving member of the group of five young people (Étienne and Monique de Ganay, Charles and Régine van den Broek d’Obrenan, and Jean Ratisbonne) who spent more than two years, from 1934 to 1936, sailing the South Seas aboard the yacht La Korrigane. Her mother, Zélie Schneider, was from one of the most wellknown families of industrialists of the early twentieth century, and her father was a high French aristocrat. Régine de Ganay married Charles van den Broek d’Obrenan in 1931. She had studied painting and drawing with André Lhote, so it was natural that she became the artist for the voyage. Following the tradition of the painters and illustrators of the great expeditions of the nineteenth century, she produced hundreds of sketches, watercolors, and pastels illustrating her vision of the many places the ship visited, and all of her works attest to her keen eye and developed sense of color.