This exhibition will highlight the specific African artifacts acquired by the New York avant-garde and its most influential patrons during the 1910s and 1920s. Reflecting on the dynamism of New York's art scene during the years that followed the 1913 Armory Show, the exhibition will bring together African works from the collections of many key individuals of the period such as Alfred Stieglitz, Marius de Zayas, John Quinn, Louise and Walter Arensberg, Alain LeRoy Locke, and Eugene and Agnes Meyer.
Featuring the Metropolitan's own holdings as well as loans from public and private collections, the exhibition will include some forty wood sculptures from West and Central Africa presented alongside photographs, sculptures, and paintings by Alfred Stieglitz, Charles Sheeler, Pablo Picasso, Francis Picabia, Diego Rivera, and Constantin Brancusi. Together, these works of art from Africa and the Western avant-garde will evoke the original context in which they were first experienced simultaneously almost a century ago.
An iconic 1914 photograph taken at Alfred Stieglitz's influential gallery, "291," will be one of many contextual documents punctuating the installation. Shown at left, the photograph immortalizes the first exhibition ever dedicated entirely to displaying African objects as works of art. Several sculptures featured in that exhibition will be reunited in African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde.