Image and Reflection: Adolph Gottlieb's Photographs and African Sculpture
- Dates: October 26, 1989 through March 26, 1990
- Collections: Photography
August 1989: The Brooklyn Museum has announced the important gift to the Museum of 74 objects from the estate of Esther D. Gottlieb. The bequest consists of African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and native American art collected between 1935 and 1979 by Mrs. Gottlieb and her late husband, the Abstract Expressionist painter Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974). The works, including ceremonial weapons, figurative sculpture, masks, paintings, and a textile, comprise the entire holdings of non-Western art of the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation.
In celebration of the gift of the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Collection, the Museum will organize an exhibition entitled Image and Reflection: Adolph Gottlieb’s Pictographs and African Sculpture. Featuring 20 African sculptures from the bequest and 11 paintings by Gottlieb borrowed from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, the exhibition will open October 27, 1989, and remain on view through March 26, 1990.
“The generous bequest to The Brooklyn Museum from the estate of Mrs. Gottlieb is noteworthy not only for its size and art historical significance, but for its personal connection to Brooklyn,” said Robert T. Buck, Director of the Museum. “The collection is remarkable as a testament to a major artist’s appreciation of works from these African, Oceanic and Native American cultures. And the forthcoming exhibition will offer a unique opportunity to see Mr. Gottlieb’s thought processes and ideas which eventually materialized into the artist’s highly personal style.
“We are especially pleased with the gift, however, because the Gottliebs lived in Brooklyn during the time their collection was being formed, and the Museum’s own non-Western holdings were a source of inspiration for some of Mr. Gottlieb’s most important work during the 1940s and early 1950s.”
Among the noteworthy objects from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Collection are five Dogon sculptures in wood, which will add significantly to the Museum’s holdings in this area; two exceptional aboriginal Australian paintings on bark and a rare aboriginal Australian male figure in wood from the Oceanic material; and an important Chilkat blanket from the Northwest Coast.
October 1989: Image and Reflection: Adolph Gottlieb’s Pictographs and African Sculpture, an exhibition of 11 paintings by the Abstract Expressionist painter Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974) and 20 of the African sculptures from his collection, will open October 27, 1989, in the Special Exhibition Gallery of the Department of African, Oceanic, and New World Art, located on the first floor. The exhibition celebrates the recent gift to the Museum of 74 African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian and Native American works from the estate of the artist’s wife, Esther D. Gottlieb. It coincides with the opening of the Museum’s reinstalled African Galleries, and will remain on view through March 26, 1990.
The African objects on display were collected by the Gottliebs between 1935 and 1974 in Paris and New York and date from between the 18th and 20th centuries. Included among the sculptures on view are a male wood figure from the Dogon peoples of Mali, dating from the 18th or 19th century; a wood, copper and brass reliquary figure from the Kota peoples of Gabon, dating from the 19th century; and a wood and metal pair of Tji Wara headdresses from the Bamana peoples of Mali, dating from the early 20th century. The paintings in the exhibition, part of a series of works that Gottlieb executed between 1942 and 1951 called “Pictographs,” reflect the artist’s interest in African art and its influence on his work.
The exhibition has been organized by Charlotta Kotik, Curator of Contemporary Art, and William Siegmann, Associate Curator of African, Oceanic, and New World Art at the Museum. It has been made possible with the support and assistance of the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation.