Neuberger Museum of Art
African Art from the Permanent Collection
African art has been an integral part of the Neuberger Museum of Art since it opened in 1974. In 1999, the collection almost doubled in size with the major gift of 153 works from the collection of the late Lawrence Gussman, a notable collector and a resident of Scarsdale, New York. Only a small portion of the collection was on view until October 12, 2007 when the Neuberger Museum of Art opened its brilliantly refurbished gallery and vastly expanded the number of objects on view from thirty-five to eighty-two.
Some of the splendid objects on view from the collection are a Ci-Wara headdress from the Bamana peoples in Mali, a Bangwa commemorative female figure from Cameroon recently attributed to the carver Ateu Atsa and a Dan figure from Liberia/Côte d'Ivoire attributed to the famous carver Zlan, a stylistically delicate janus-face Mende mask from Sierra Leone, a Tsogo/Lumbo harp, among the only anthropomorphic harp known so far in an American museum, and a large figure from the Bembe peoples (Congo) generally recognized for their artistic mastery in miniature.
The collection is also distinguished by two powerful examples of Fang reliquary Guardian Figures (Gabon) that contrast both in form and style. Three important sculptures and an object of adornment have recently been added to the collection: a rare Dogon shutter (Mali) depicting a lizard surrounded by eight figures, a Mumuye figure (Nigeria) displaying bold angular volumes, an exceptional eroded wooden Senufo figure (Mali/Côte d'Ivoire) and a Zulu hat (South Africa) distinguished by its dramatically flared shape.