Ancestors of the Lake

Ancestors of the Lake

Menil Collection

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After Dutch expeditions reached New Guinea's Lake Sentani island and Humboldt Bay in the mid-1800s, Western visitors began collecting works by local artists. Ancestors of the Lake is a stunning look at the region's distinctive art, such as its highly stylized wooden sculptures and decoratively and abstractly designed barkcloths. This beautifully illustrated volume brings together many of these important historic pieces for the first time, including the landmark collection of French writer and art dealer Jacques Viot, along with photographs by Paul Wirz. The book also explores how European Surrealist artists found inspiration in the art of New Guinea, highlighted by rarely seen photographs by Man Ray of Sentani sculpture.

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Virginia-Lee Webb is an art historian and retired Research Curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Pub Date: 2011
Format: Hardback with color illus.
Pages: 136 
Size: 9.25 x 11.25 inches


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