Ancestral figure thumbnail 1
Ancestral figure thumbnail 2
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images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case X, Shelf 202, Box VII
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Ancestral figure

Photograph
1935 (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Photograph of an ancestral figure from an exhibition of African art


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Photograph
Brief description
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.
Physical description
Photograph of an ancestral figure from an exhibition of African art
Dimensions
  • Photograph height: 234mm
  • Photograph width: 118mm
  • Green card mount height: 330mm
  • Green card mount width: 267mm
  • White board mount height: 530mm
  • White board mount width: 380mm
Pasted to green card: 330 x 267 mm.
Production typeLimited edition
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)
Gallery label
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)
Object history
NB: The term "negro" was used historically to describe people of black 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.

Subjects depicted
Bibliographic references
  • 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
Collection
Accession number
1997-1936

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Record createdJuly 1, 2009
Record URL
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