Exhibition in Brussels: "Mestach, the African" from 6 to 29 June 2007
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CLICK HERE to read about the events
taking place in Brussels this year for
One of the big events this year in Brussels, and in the Tribal art world in general, is the exhibition of 111 masterpieces from the
collection of Jean-Willy Mestach. The title of the exhibition is "Mestach, The African".

The exhibition runs from June 6 - 29 from 10am to 6pm - entrance is 10€
Held at the Salle des Beaux Arts, Place du Grand Sablon, 40 Grote Zavel - 1000 Bruxelles (shown above on the right)

I was
very excited to be invited to the opening reception and private view of the exhibition on June 5th.
I'll have my camera with me and plan to get some photos of the installation of the exhibition while I'm there that night. I'll have my
laptop with me and plan to share the photos with the people in the
African Arts & Culture Discussion Group shortly afterwards,
they'll have the first glimpse on the Internet of the objects in the exhibition!

The last time objects from his collection were shown, that I am aware of, was an exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Arts
(Kansas City) in 1991, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 1992. The book "The Intelligence of Forms: An Artist Collects
African Art", is a book that accompanied the exhibition and is a wonderfully illustrated book, but very hard to find a copy
available. If you have any old African Arts publications you can find a review of the book by Kathleen Barlow in
African Arts, Vol. 25, No. 4, 100th Issue (Oct., 1992), pp. 86-88+108

Below is the Press Release about the exhibition:

Exhibition in Brussels: "Mestach, the African" from 6 to 29 June 2007

On the occasion of the 80th birthday of Jean Willy Mestach, Pierre Bergé & associés and Bruneaf have the honour of
presenting 111 masterpieces from the world’s greatest collections of tribal art. Acknowledged by his peers as an important
forerunner, over the course of the past 50 years Jean Willy Mestach has come to symbolise the archetypical devoted collector.
Uncompromisingly dispensing with the conventions of his age by moving away from the most traditional pieces, he favoured
more original models, masterpieces of exceptional rarity which were considered at the time as belonging in the margins of the

To date, over fifty of these pieces have been exhibited around the world but the mystery of "Mestach the African" has never
been fully unravelled.

This major event will take place from 6 to 29 June 2007, thus coinciding with the International Fair Bruneaf (Brussels No-
European Art fair) and the first sales of Non-European art at Pierre Bergé & associés. Brussels, an early cradle of the
antiquaria of Non-European art, will be welcoming collectors of Non-European art, as well as enthusiasts and institutions from
the world over at the heart of the Grand Sablon district.

Among the key objects, there is an extremely rare statuette from the Kela, a Mongo group situated in the central basin of the
Congo. It represents a male ancestor and was originally part of a couple, the female figure of which is currently in a major
collection in Los Angeles. The object was gathered prior to the Second World War by governor Van Rijswijck. There are only 5
such objects currently in existence (Height: 31 cm).  

Also on display will be a mask regarded as the finest known Kwese mask. Very few of the older Kwese masks having survived,  
it is the rarest of objects: it represents an ancestor who has been summoned by the community to honour, by his presence, the
essential milestones in an individual’s life, from the initiation rites marking the passage from child to young adult to the funerals
of notables. (Dimension: 27 cm.)

The Willy Mestach collection, recognised by all of the specialists as one of the most valuable in the world, has remained
inaccessible to the public up until now.

This exhibition is set to become a unique opportunity to see the collection, a not-to-be missed event for all art lovers who will be
in Brussels during the month of June 2007

Practical information:

Exhibition: "Mestach the African", from Wednesday 6 June through Friday 29 June 2007
Open every day from 10:00 A.M. to 6:30 P.M.
Admission: 10 €
Catalogue: a special publication currently under preparation, will be for sale at the exhibition
Pierre Bergé & associés – Salle des Beaux-Arts Place du Grand Sablon 40 - 1000 Brussels
Contact: Olivia Roussev - Tel : +32 2 504 80 30 – www.pba-auctions.com
Just added - photos from the exhibition opening

I took lots of photos at the opening preview of the Mestach exhibition on June 5th and have uploaded them to my Flickr photo
account since I haven't had time to put them on my website yet. The lighting was dark but dramatic. I haven't done any editing
on the photos so you see them in their raw form.

CLICK HERE to see the list of photos

CLICK HERE to see a slide show of the photos

(links will open in a new window and will take you to my Flickr photo page