Want to Know More about African Art in Paris?
Most visitors flock to Parisian museums to see European, especially French, art. This is hardly news. But arguably, there would be no Picasso at the Musée Picasso, no Miró or Klee at Centre Pompidou if it weren't for the extraordinary richness of African and Oceanic art in Parisian collections.
Picasso painted "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" after the shock of what he saw at the former Trocadero ethnographic museum. Most historians recognize that non-western—so-called "primitive" art—was the single most decisive influence on Picasso and countless other 20th-century artists.
Artists and collectors in France were some of the first to appreciate non-western sculpture from an aesthetic, rather than anthropological point of view. For that reason—and because of France's colonial interests in that part of the world—Paris still boasts some of the most comprehensive collections in the world.
But while we all wait for the 2006 opening of the new Quai Branly Jean Nouvel-designed museum that will house the largest of those national collections, we have the smaller quiet oasis that is the Musée Dapper in the 16th. It is the museum face of a private scholarly foundation devoted to the promotion of knowledge of Africa and its disaporas. Its small thematic exhibitions make it an ideal place to begin your exploration of African art, because they are always an opportunity to learn something focused and concrete.
To read more about it the Dapper's current exhibition, click here.
35, rue Paul Valéry, 16th.
Tel: (1) 45 00 01 50. Métro: Victor-Hugo, Kléber, Boissiére. Hours: 11am-7pm Wed through Sunday only.Admission: 5 E, reduced 2.5 E. Free under 16.