Loudmer-Poulain, Paris, 14 juin 1979, lot 138
Acquise lors de cette dernière par Saul et Marsha Stanoff
Sotheby's, New York, The Saul and Marsha Stanoff Collection, 17 mai 2007, lot 27
Importante collection privée, acquise lors de cette vente
The African-American Insitute, Masterpieces of the People's Republic of the Congo, 1980, cat.38, p.36
Robbins, W. M., et Nooter, R. N., African Art in American Collections, 1989, p.378, fig.965
Lehuard, R., Art Bakongo, Les Centres de Style, 1989, vol.II, p.410, fig.G-25-2-1
The Center for African Art, Likeness and Beyond: Portraits from Africa and the World, Museum for African Art, 1990, cat.59, p.128
New York, Masterpieces of the People's Republic of the Congo, The African-American Institute, 25 Septembre 1980 - 24 janvier 1981
New York, Likeness and Beyond: Portraits from Africa and the World, Museum for African Art, 14 février - 21 aout 1990
Post Lot Text
There are a dozen known Bembé seated figures of this of this type, four of which are held in European museum collections: the Musée du Quai Branly (inv.73.1972.5.2); the Modern Art Museum of Troyes, formerly in the collections of Felix Fnon and Pierre Levy (see Porter, A., Poncetton, 1956 pl.X); the Royal Museum of Central Africa, Tervuren (inv.56.8.9) although more modest quality; and the Ethnografiska Museet in Stockholm (inv.1919.1.12 in Arts d'Afrique Noire, no.14, p.28). In private collections, see: Leuzinger (1970 fig.S23); another in Rochard (2002, fig.34); Bastin (1984 fig.302), another sold by Sotheby's and collected before 1903 (5 December 2007, lot 65), another with amazing blue eyes, offered by Pierre Dartevelle. This corpus is characterized by the following: relatively large, corpulent, seated male figure, triangular beard, plaque-like coiffure projecting at the back, mouth open, almond-shaped inlaid eyes, legs spread and knees raised, right hand holding a Funka (or mfunka - Söderberg, in Arts d'Afrique Noire, n.14), left hand resting on the knee, visibly represented sex.
The Funka is an emblem of power, close to a flyswatter derived from the form of a buffalo tail with a carved or adorned handle. The prominent presence of this symbol held by the Stanoff Bembe indicates that he is a member of a noble family or influential clan (op.cit.).
This corpus has been identified as "sub-style G 25" by Lehuard in his reference book Arts Bakongo Les centres de style (1989). He stated that the statuettes forming this group "are among the more balanced and beautiful [Bembé] works of art, and are the product of artists who are at the apex of their careers." The Stanoff Bembé is unique even within this already distinguished corpus being the only one whose eyebrows are marked with a sharp edge and whose eyes are not almond-shaped, but quadrangular. In addition, the raised decoration, in the form of abdominal scars, is only present on the offered work and another in a private collection (Sotheby's, 2007).