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 broad 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 powerful Kongo figures endowed with magical 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 powerful Biwat 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, including Viviane Baeke (Africa Museum, Tervuren), Philippe Dagen (historian and art critic), Jean-Paul Colleyn (anthropologist), Bertrand Goy (author specializing in Côte d’Ivoire), Hélène Joubert (Musée du Quai Branly-Jaques Chirac), Hélène Leloup (historian and antiquarian), Sean Mooney (the Rock Foundation), and Philippe Peltier (formerly at Musée du Quai Branly-Jaques Chirac).
Charles-Wesley Hourdé is an independent expert, a merchant, and a researcher specialized in classic art from Africa, Oceania, and America. His passion for this market has led him to publish several articles, especially on the Japanese ebony artist Kichizô Inagaki, along with six show catalogues, among which Passeurs de rêves (2016), focusing on the history of non-European artifacts, and L’Emprise des masques (2017), which deals with the affinity between primitive sculptures and Pablo Picasso’s work. Galerie Pigalle: Africa, Oceania, his most recent publication and the result of three years of research, received the PILAT award in 2018, and the FILAF in 2019.