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Dequene copy.jpg


Still life with African masks, a carved wooden figure and textiles (circa 1932)

Signed lower left

Oil on canvas, 98 x 80 cm

Dequene studied art in Lille where he was born and in Paris. A study grant allowed him to spend five months in French Sudan, Upper-Volta, French Guinea and Senegal in 1932. He exhibited his African oils and pastels at the Salon de Société Coloniale des Artistes Francaise in 1933. He visited Morocco and Madagascar in 1946 and 1953 respectively. His painting of the market in Fez is in the collection of the Musée d’Art et d’Industrie in Roubaix. From 1936 to 1962 he was a professor of painting and drawing in the same city. Retrospective exhibitions of his work were held in France in the 1990s. This still-life composition by Dequene comprises masks, textiles and basketry he would have encountered or collected on his travels through Central and West Africa. At the top right is a typical example of a Pende mask from Congo; the blue and white mask with raffia in the centre of the painting is from the Yaka tribe of South West Congo and Angola; the mask at the bottom of the painting and the spirit figure both belong to the Baule people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast; the cloth at the back of the painting is probably by the Fulani people from Burkino Faso, West Africa.

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