From the collection of Ida O'Keeffe (Georgia's sister); to a private collector.
Stieglitz organized a pionerring exhibition at the 291 Galleries reflecting modernism's homage to primitive art in November 1914. Though it is unclear who formulated the title, "Statuary in Wood by African Savages--The Root of Modern Art," the exhibition was curated by Marius de Zayas. An installation view of the gallery shows that figurative statues were presented on pedestals while heads, including this Guro mask, were mounted on the wall.
Edward Steichen, who often functioned as Stieglitz's exhibition designer, made some necessary changes upon seeing the masks mounted on 291's signature gray walls. He suggested "brighten[ing] up that fine exhibition" by placing sheets of "gay-colored papers" with abstract geometric designs behind the works. Interestingly, the study offered in this lot clearly shows the mask before Steichen improved the exhibition design.
Stieglitz scholar and curator Sarah Greenough attributes this work to Stieglitz, writing: "Research has uncovered more photographs of works connected to 'Statuary in Wood,' presumably also shot by Stieglitz."
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