1930. Une exposition mythique
Under the direction of:
Charles-Wesley Hourdé and Nicolas Rolland.
345 pages. 500 images.
Print Run 500 copies. Winner
(Prix International du Livre d'Art Tribal).
The African and Oceanic art exhibition held at the théâtre Pigalle gallery in 1930 appears as a milestone of the Occidental apprehension of Primitive Arts.
At the beginning of the century, the discovery of so-called “primitive” arts by the avant-garde artists has deeply renewed the European creation. However, was the general public equally ready to recognize these masks and other pieces as true works of art ? The triumph of this event held in the galerie Pigalle, both popular and critical, seems to attest it.
This success is undoubtedly reflecting the negrophilic passion which conquered Paris at that time, expressing itself in the most various media: plastic arts, literature, music, theater, dance, etc.
It is also a consequence of the radiant aura of the personalities involved within the exhibition, whether as organizers (Tristan Tzara, Pierre Loeb, Charles Ratton, etc.) or lenders (Pablo Picasso, André Derain, Georges Braque, Joan Miro, Paul Guillaume, Félix Fénéon, etc.).
But it is mostly the outstanding quality of the gathered pieces that will eventually settle and achieve the reputation of the event. Among the objects displayed in 1930, many are considered today as masterpieces of African and Oceanic arts.
This retrospective publication, fruit of several years of research, led by Nicolas Rolland and Charles-Wesley Hourdé through collections and archives all over the world, provides many rare documents and photographs. It allows us to shade a new light on the context of the exhibition, and to restitute, for the first time, its exceptional content.
It is enriched with contributions from the most distinguished specialists of this pivotal period: Yaëlle Biro (Assistant Curator at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art), Philippe Peltier (Curator of the Oceania-Insulindia Department at the Paris Musée du Quai Branly for twelve years), Virginia Lee-Webb (former Curator and Senior Researcher at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art), etc.