Fang Seated Male Figure from a Reliquary Element, Gabon
height 15in (38.2cm)
nlo bieri, seated on a support stick with diminutive bent legs supporting the columnar torso with hooped arms below a head with diminutive features and a protruding mouth; varied brown patina; Inagaki base.
Maria Martins, New York and Paris, ca. 1940's.
Private American Collection
The Brazilian sculptor Maria Martins (1894-1973), better known professionally as simply 'Maria', as she insisted upon being referred to in all matters pertaining to her artistic life, is one of the most important sculptors of the Surrealist period, singled out by André Breton in 1948 as the 'shining star' of post-war art. Having married a diplomat, Maria traveled and lived all over the world, including the France, Belgium, Japan and the United States.
While living in the United States in the 1941, Maria met Jacques Lipchitz, a collector of African art, who fled from France after the second world war began, and learned the art of casting bronze.
Maria had her first one-woman show in 1942 at Valentine Gallery in New York. As a result, she met many influential artists of the time including André Breton, Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Matta, Piet Mondrian, Yves Tanquy and Marcel Duchamp who she would form a close relationship with.
Duchamp is well-known for his collection of African, Oceanic and American Indian Art, and it must have been through this relationship with Duchamp that Marie began studying and admiring these works and began her collection.