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WOODRUFF, HALE. Illustrated Autograph Letter Signed, with 6 ink drawings, to Esther Krasny ("Dear Miss Krasny"), describing the influence of African art upon the Western arts including the visual arts, architecture, and furniture, and differentiating African art from African-American art. The drawings, small sketches on the last two pages, each accompanied by notes, showing how a selection of forms appearing in modern art were derived from African forms. 7 pages, folio, pale yellow ruled paper, written on rectos of separate sheets; horizontal folds. With the original envelope. New York, 25 November 1955
". . . Picasso & Braque were among the first artists to recognize African art as 'art,' although Leo Frobenius the German anthropologist, was aware of this quality before these artists. "These cubists were struck by the bold yet controlled form of African sculpture. Picasso's 'Demoiselles d'Avignon' is definitely influenced by the African mask. . . . "However, the modern artist rarely delved into the cultures of these peoples. They simply looked at their art and transformed it to their purposes--as forms. . . . ". . . A wider insight into all art forms has revealed the true quality in African art. Its influence has opened up new ways of seeing, creating and understanding. It now belongs to the tradition of all great expression in art. "Please note I always said African art, not Negro art. The latter may be correct but we may be apt to confuse this with American Negro art. They are not the same, although the American Negro is also influenced by it in some cases. I am, for one. . . . "While not all artists today are 'African' by influence, their work & their thinking have been re-vitalized by African art. This is perhaps its most significant contribution. . . ." with--Two typed letters from art scholars to Esther Krasny on the same subject as the present letter: Edward N. Wilson, Jr. Thomas Munro. Together 3 1/2 pages, 4to. Each with the original envelope. Durham, 26 November; Cleveland, 16 December 1955.