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Honorary Presidency Norberto Izquierdo

Each year, the Parcours des Mondes highlights a major figure from the tribal art field who is implicated in the diffusion of knowledge about Non-Western Arts.

Who is Norberto Izquierdo ?

Globe-trotter and art lover Norberto Izquierdo first encountered ‘Arts du Lointain’ (‘art from remote places’) whilst travelling in Oceania.

This initial meeting blossomed into a real passion, which he has nurtured for more than ten years now.

As he criss-crossed the world, he firstly focused on the culture and art of Oceania and Africa.

In recent times, he has taken an interest in Pre-Columbian art.When in Paris, he is a frequent visitor to the art galleries and specialist bookshops of the Arts District centred around Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

In common with other collectors and art lovers, he has an active presence on social media where he shares his love for tribal art and seeks to encourage a greater aesthetic appreciation for thisfield.

Interview with Norberto Izquierdo

 

What does your collection mean to you?  

For a long time, what I bought was mostly a question of what I felt emotionally drawn towards. I ended up accumulating more and more artworks. In time, helped by some good advice from experts and art dealers, I realized that a good collection was a product of the mind and patience, as well as heart. My way of looking at collections has changed – I now see an art collection as a work of art in its own right.

What do you think makes Parcours des mondes so special?

I’ll never forget my first Parcours des mondes. It represented the first time that I felt confident enough to cross the threshold of some of the top tribal art galleries. Ever since that time, more than 10 years ago, I’ve had a renewed interest in art from far-flung places.

The Beaux-Arts district in Saint- Germain-des-Prés takes on a very special, almost exhilarating atmosphere. It’s a great opportunity to meet art lovers, collectors, experts and dealers from all over the world, in some cases, for the first time.

 

In your position as Honorary President, which values do you want to impress on collectors and art lovers?

Dialogue and interaction. Naturally, I mean this in the sense of people with a common passion sharing something together, but also in the sense of passing on our love of tribal art to those who are unfamiliar with it. Parcours des mondes, the biggest tribal art fair in the world, is the ideal opportunity to

set up these kinds of meetings of minds and to encourage people who don’t generally visit art galleries to do so. I’m convinced that these encounters will result in new enthusiasts who will in turn pass on their new-found passion for tribal art to others.

 

Would you describe a work that you see as a highlight in your collection?

Unquestionably it’s the piece that first opened the path to African art for me. It is a large and elegant Baule figure that provoked a powerful reaction in me the moment I laid eyes on it. This sculpture had been sleeping for ages in an old collection after having passed through the hands of renowned dealer Maurice Ratton. I marvel at it to this day, and continue to take pleasure
in contemplating its majestic presence, adorned with its necklaces and enthroned upon its granite-block base. The sculptor’s finesse of line perfectly balances the overall power of form.

Do you have any special favorites at this 2020 Parcours and, if so, why?

I’ve only seen the images from the catalog so far, and it is difficult for me to make choices even among those, but I must admit that I have a particular fondness for the Baule figure that Galerie Alain Bovis is presenting. I greatly appreciate the elegance and refinement of

its features, as well as its graceful posture, its detached arms that follow the lines of the body, and its remarkable coiffure. Evaluating artworks through photos this way seems increasingly normal. The health crisis we have been enduring has resulted in a progressive migration on the part of the world’s art players toward all things digital—online buying and the presentation of virtual shows and even art fairs on the internet have been very much on the upswing.

 

Do you feel that this digital trend has changed the practices and habits of collectors? Is your own approach affected?

 

Aficionados and collectors have been happy to see that many dealers
and institutions in the art world adapted quickly and ingeniously to the restrictions imposed by lockdown imposed and now have developed online presences, especially on social media. That has made it possible for art lovers to continue to discover and acquire new pieces. I myself have found and acquired three pieces at virtual exhibitions and an online auction during the shelter-in-place period.

That said, I feel that this trend of buying and selling online needs to be tempered. It is not necessarily well-suited to all collectors or to all types of artworks. While I do recognize that the exhibition of works on the Internet will be vital in the future and is a phenomenon that is here to stay, it will never be a substitute for physical gallery exhibitions nor can it completely replace them.

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