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Photograph - Ancestral figure
  • Ancestral figure
    Evans, Walker, born 1903 - died 1975
  • Enlarge image

Ancestral figure

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    New York (photographed)

  • Date:

    1935 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Evans, Walker, born 1903 - died 1975 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Photograph

  • Museum number:

    1997-1936

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 202, box VII

Physical description

Photograph of an ancestral figure from an exhibition of African art

Place of Origin

New York (photographed)

Date

1935 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Evans, Walker, born 1903 - died 1975 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Photograph

Marks and inscriptions

X.202 / NEW YORK: Museum of Modern Art. / Exhibition of African Negro Art, 1935. / [Photo. No. 4]
Label on mount

4 Ancestral figure (Catalog no. 2) / French Sudan. Senufo / Wood. 35 inches high / Collection André Derain, Paris
Label on mount

Dimensions

Height: 234 mm photograph, Width: 118 mm photograph, Height: 330 mm green card mount, Width: 267 mm green card mount, Height: 530 mm white board mount, Width: 380 mm white board mount

Object history note

NB: The term "negro" was used historically to describe people of black (sub-Saharan) African heritage but, since the 1960s, has fallen from usage and, increasingly, is considered offensive. The term is repeated here in its original historical context.

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, commissioned Walker Evans to photograph its African Negro Art exhibition of 1935. He produced 477 images and 17 sets of these images were printed, one of which the V&A bought for $50.

Descriptive line

Photograph by Walker Evans depicting a carved figure from French Sudan (modern day Mali) in an exhibition entitled 'African Negro Art' at the Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1935.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

African Negro Art New York: Museum of Modern Art, c. 1935. 58p., [82]p of plates.
AFRICAN NEGRO ART

Photographs by Walker Evans

List of Photographs

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1935
African Negro Art Edited by James Johnson Sweeney, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1935

Labels and date

Cast Courts Reinstallation, 27 November 2018

17. FACSIMILE PHOTOGRAPH OF
'Ancestral figure'

Walker Evans, 1935

In 1935, this carved figure from French Sudan (modern day Mali) was recorded by the artist-photographer, Walker Evans, at an exhibition titled African Negro Art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This was the first major exhibition of African art in the West. Soonafter, the V&A bought a complete set of photographs of the exhibition to broaden its collections relating to sculpture. For audiences today, these photographs record not only the objects in the exhibition but past approaches to language and curatorship.

The term 'negro' is repeated here in its original historical context.

REPRODUCED FROM
silver gelatin print
New York, USA
Museum no. 1997-1936 [27 November 2018]

Techniques

Photography

Subjects depicted

Sculpture; Figures; Subject

Categories

Africa; Photographs; Black History

Production Type

Limited edition

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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