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Post Lot Text
'MASQUE NEGRE', A PATINATED CERAMIC MASK BY RENE BUTHAUD, PROTOTYPE, CIRCA 1925-1930
This lot will be sold with a certificate of authentication by Jacques Sargos dated May 2nd 2006
Bordeaux ceramist René Buthaud conceived a range of decorative objects in the 1920s and 1930s that reflect key contemporary artistic influences. His vases incorporated elegant female heads and figures that reflect the influence of Matisse and Modigliani in their bold outlines and in the stylisation of forms and features. Other pieces involved purely geometric patterns, Buthaud's personal interpretation of the fashionable new motifs that derived from Cubism and other Modernist experiments.
The present piece reflects another major influence on the art of the new century - the reappraisal of tribal objects, notably by Picasso and his circle in their search for an authentic set of visual symbols from which they might construct a figurative language to challenge the conventions of Western art. Buthaud, like a number of inspired contemporaries who appreciated the aesthetic as well as the documentary importance of such objects, became a notable collector of tribal artefacts. This interest gave him new inspiration for his own work and here we see how he turned to a specific type of African mask from the Yaouré tribe as the inspiration for the present work, created around 1925-1930.
This exceptional model was the prototype for a small series of rather more smoothly finished masks executed with a silver and black glaze and retailed through the Galerie Rouard in Paris. The present piece, stained by Buthaud rather than glazed, was acquired from the artist by a M. Taillefer, a dealer in tribal art