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Hats Off! A Salute to African Headwear
July 18–December 26, 1999


Among the most beautiful and creative objects of personal attire worn by African peoples are innumerable types of headwear fabricated from various materials. Drawing from its collection, the museum pays tribute to both the creative genius of their makers and the status and prestige of those who wear them.

New Acquisitions: Gifts from the Lawrence Gussman Collection
Mid-December 1998–Spring 1999


Lawrence Gussman's interest in African art grew out of a personal involvement with the people of Africa and Albert Schweitzer's hospital in Gabon. He began collecting seriously in 1965 and amassed a premier collection of art from Gabon with strong representation from the Congo region. A generous lender and donor, Lawrence Gussman is giving his collection of African art to the National Museum of African Art; the Neuberger Museum, Purchase College, State University of New York; and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.


South Africa 1936–1949: Photographs by Constance Stuart Larrabee
September 20, 1998–February 28, 1999


Constance Stuart Larrabee (1914-2000) lived and worked as a professional photographer in South Africa until 1950. Her aesthetic eye is apparent in the exquisite black-and-white images that document the lives of African peoples in both rural and urban settings. These images have become timeless works of art. South Africa 1936–1949: Photographs by Constance Stuart Larrabee explores Larrabee's vital and imaginative vision and her ability to capture poignant moments in the history of South Africa.


Baule: African Art/Western Eyes
February 7–May 9, 1999


This exhibition of more than 150 works presents the full range of objects created by Baule artists and contrasts how the Baule experienced these objects with how Western museums have presented them.

The exhibition was organized by the Yale University Art Galley in cooperation with the Museum for African Art, New York.


African Forms in the Furniture of Pierre Legrain
August 16–November 29, 1998


African objects that came into Paris from the French colonies in the 1890s inspired European artists in the early 1900s who sought to find new patterns and forms to incorporate into their work. One such artist, Pierre Legrain (1889-1929), designed furniture for collector Jacques Doucet and came to be recognized for his "negro" furniture. This exhibition explores the influence African chairs and stools had on the work of Legrain.


Olowe of Ise: A Yoruba Sculptor to Kings
March 15–September 7, 1998


African art is not always anonymous; some masterpieces were made by skilled individuals whose fame extended well beyond the villages or towns in which they lived. Olowe of Ise (c. 1875 - c. 1938) was such an artist. His unique style of carving attracted the notice of Ekiti-Yoruba kings who commissioned him to sculpt doors and veranda posts for their palaces.


A Spiral of History
February 1–April 26, 1998


Ivory tusks carved with relief figures are among the splendid corpus of objects attributed to 19th-century artists of Kongo-speaking groups that inhabited the West Central African region then known as the Loango Coast. This exhibition focuses on one tusk acquired by the museum and explores its place of origin, the artist or workshop responsible for its creation, the possible meanings of the figurative scenes, and the audience for whom it was created.


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