As part of the UIMA’s partnership with the Figge Art Museum, a gallery of African art opened in the Davenport museum in early December. Curated by Christopher Roy, UI professor of Art History and Elizabeth M. Stanley Faculty Fellow of African Art, Selections from the Stanley Collection features over 30 African objects, and is an ongoing exhibition intended to represent the artistic diversity found throughout the continent.
“I have chosen a number of the best objects from the Stanley collection for display,” Professor Roy said. “These objects represent the most creative characteristics of African culture.”
Max and Elizabeth Stanley, the Muscatine natives who sparked the specialization of study in African art at the University of Iowa in 1970s with the recruiting and hiring of Christopher Roy, generously donated their collection of over 600 of the finest examples of African art in 1979.
The Stanley Collection is a means by which students in Iowa can witness the universal human bonds expressed about life, death, and family in art from Africa.
Selections from the Stanley Collection joins the already installed A Legacy for Iowa: Pollock’s Mural and Modern Masterworks from the University of Iowa Museum of Art at the Figge, a collaborative pair of exhibitions, which together emulate the connection of art styles from different periods and continents.
“African artists discovered that the most effective way of representing abstract ideas is through abstract art centuries before the Western artists did. When Picasso, Vlaminck, Derain, and others discovered the genius of African art in the period from 1907 to 1912, they changed the course of art history.”