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African Art
Artist: Ateu-Atsa, Bangwa, 1840–1910

Male Seated Figure with Bowl

late 19th century


24 1/2 × 14 1/4 × 12 in. (62.23 × 36.2 × 30.48 cm)
Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection
This figure was formerly owned by the renowned Dada artist Tristan Tzara. In 1935 it was featured in the influential exhibition African Negro Art at the Museum of Modern Art, New York–the first blockbuster exhibition of African art in the Unites States. A smaller version of the very successful show traveled to other venues, in San Francisco, Chicago, and Cleveland. The modernist installation aesthetic and selection of works had a lasting impact on the American perception of African art.
On view
19th century

Christophe Tzara, Paris; Tristan Tzara, Paris, late 1920s–early 1930s; Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Hollander, Saint Louis; Alexander Suggs Gallery, Saint Louis, to March 1, 1984; Charles B. Benenson Collection, Greenwich, Conn, 1984–2004; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


James Johnson Sweeney, African Negro Art, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1935), 44, no. 320.

Jacqueline Delange, The Art and Peoples of Black Africa (New York: Dutton, 1974), no. 96, ill.

William Rubin, “Primitivism” in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern, 2 vols., exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1984), vol. 1, p. 164, ill.

Susan Vogel and Jerry L. Thompson, Closeup: Lessons in the Art of Seeing African Sculpture from an American Collection and the Horstmann Collection, exh. cat. (New York: Museum for African Art, 1990), 163, fig. 94.

Richard Barnes, “Objects of Desire,” Yale Alumni Magazine (September/October 2004): 35, ill.

“Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 222.

Christraud M. Geary, Art in Cameroon: Sculptural Dialogues, ed. Marie-Thérèse Brincard (Purchase, N.Y.: State University of New York, 2011), 25, fig. 9.

Frederick John Lamp, Amanda Maples, and Laura M. Smalligan, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 72, 143, fig. 15.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.