Jean Pigozzi, the French collector, photographer and automobile heir recently made headlines for donating 45 works by contemporary African artists from his famed collection to the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA). The donation was the largest gift of African art that MoMA had ever received.
The trove included sculptors Romuald Hazoumè from the Republic of Bénin, Bodys Isek Kingelez from the Democratic Republic of Congo, painters Moké and Cheri Samba, and photographers Jean Depara and Seydou Keïta from DRC and Mali, respectively. Pigozzi’s collection features mostly young artists (born after 1945) and nearly forty percent of them are women. He’s been building his collection of over ten thousand works, over the course of the past three decades, with the help of curator André Magnin.
Some of his collection is now made available at Galerie Gmurzynska in Zurich, for an exhibition titled Expressions d’Afrique – Inside Jean Pigozzi’s Collection (running through December 23). The gallery announced that the show was curated by former curator of the Grand Palais Dr. Jérôme Neutres and spans a wide spectrum of work. “The title of the exhibition is a playful reference to Raymond Roussel’s foundational text Impressions d’Afrique…. Today, this exhibition puts the focus on the ‘expressions’ of Africa created by the continent’s best artists over the last 30 years” the gallery said in a press release.
The show in Zurich features many of the artists whose work is on view at MoMA in New York, but offers a broader view at the diversity of Piggozi’s collection. Here are some highlights: