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South African, 19th century, male.

Wood carver(s).

There is no biographical information to tell us who the ‘Baboon Master’ was. This is the case with the majority of black South African carvers working in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The appellation was given on the strength of a stylistic affinity shared by a number of carved staffs with finials containing baboons and other motifs. It is most likely that the carver was a man living in the Pietermaritzburg or Durban regions in the 1880s and 1890s. A family or workshop of carvers could also have produced the staffs. A variance in the quality of the works may also indicate copies made by less skilled competitors or by learners in the workshop....


Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....


Bolaji V. Campbell

(b Efon-Alaye, c. 1860; d 1938).

Nigerian wood-carver. Little is known of his training except that he moved to Ise to work at the court of the king, where he served as court messenger. He carved for the king of Ise as well as for other regional rulers and wealthy Yoruba families. At one point he had up to 15 apprentices in his studio. He worked within the conventions of Yoruba carving, creating standard forms: multi-tiered house-posts (see fig.), doors, divination bowls and boxes. Yet his treatment was innovative: some of his relief carvings were so deep that figures appear nearly fully round. As can be seen in the door from the palace at Ikere-Ekiti (1906; London, BM), he gave complex and active poses to these elongated, angular figures and applied enamel paint to his pieces earlier than most other carvers. His door panels are sometimes narrative, recording historical events and personages such as British colonial officers. He was known in particular for the attention given to the surface of his works, where hair and jewellery are clearly shown. Two doors included in the ...


Jean-Pierre Ibio

(fl Congo, late 19th century).

Name given to one or more Congolese sculptors. The works by this artist were originally named after Buli, the town from which two pieces are known to have come. Frans Olbrechts identified the sculptor’s hand in 1948, and since then scholars have debated whether to attribute the 19 known works created by the Buli Master to one sculptor or more than one, possibly a master and his studio. It is now generally accepted that two artists are responsible. Claude-Henri Pirat has carefully compared the carvings and has suggested that the first sculptor was Ngongo Ya Chintu, a Hemba man active in the late 19th century. This counters the notion that the Buli Master was a Luba, though the sculptor was capable of creating works that possess aesthetic characteristics important to both the Hemba and Luba cultural groups. The naturalistic pieces comprise bowl bearers, stool, and headrest caryatids (see fig....


Pamela H. Simpson

(b Bozanquit, Ont., Sept 27, 1860; d Palo Alto, CA, Sept 4, 1950).

American sculptor. Raised in Colorado when it was still a frontier state, Proctor’s identification with the West was a key element of his work. Initially known as an animalier sculptor, he later did a number of figural monuments. In 1885 he went east to study at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design and in 1893 to Paris where he worked with Denys Puech and (Jean-)Antoine Injalbert. He interrupted his studies a year later to return to New York to model horses for Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s General Logan (1897; Chicago, Grant Park) and the Sherman Monument (1892–1903; New York, Grand Army Plaza), but in 1896 with a traveling fellowship returned to Paris. He settled in New York in 1900, but frequently visited the West and in 1914 moved to Idaho, then Oregon, and in 1918 to California. Known for his western themes, Proctor was a well-respected and much-admired sculptor who resisted modernism and worked in the Beaux-Arts style for his entire career....


South African, 19th century, male.

Wood carver.

Unobadula is the only example of an African carver from colonial Natal identified by name. A photographic portrait of him exists, taken in the 1860s by Dr Robert Mann. Mann had been tasked by the colonial authorities to collect material culture for the ...


South African, 19th–20th century, male.

Born 26 December 1862, in Driebergen, Holland; died 30 July 1945, in Pretoria.

Sculptor (bronze, marble, and wood), painter.

Anton van Wouw established the Western realist sculptural tradition in South Africa. He received initial training from Joseph Graven and worked for a firm of decorative plasterers in Rotterdam. In the evenings he studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Art. He settled in Pretoria on ...