In Praise of the Human Form
Arts of Africa, America and Oceania
While the foundations of the Josette and Jean-Claude Weill Collection lie in painting, their passion for seeking out exciting new forms soon led them to embrace the infinite diversity of tribal art. Expanded over the decades under the enthusiastic stewardship of their son Jean-Pierre, the collection now includes over 120 works of the very highest order, covering Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.
Several large categories can be discerned, reflecting the Weill family's liking for daring, expressionistic forms: Dogon and Tellem statues combining geometric shapes with textured surfaces, as well as Kongo powerful figures endowed with magic properties. The expressive arts of Nigeria, Cameroon, and Melanesia are also well represented in the collection.
Among the more classic works there are pieces that have iconic status - such as the Bena Lulua statue that used to belong to Jacques Kerchache, Edward Robinson's Fang reliquary figure, or the Biwat powerful flute plug from the Lemaire Collection - that testify to the sureness of the Weill's taste and to the shrewd instinct that led them to appreciate this art from another world. An important group of finely carved small ivories makes up one-third of the whole collection.
This book will provide an opportunity to unveil the Parisian collection shrouded in mystery, whose importance is matched only by its confidentiality. In order to enable the reader to capture the full richness and diversity of its contents, the works are all accompanied by notes written by experts.