The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection, based in Geneva, is the largest private collection in the world of contemporary African art, dedicated to artists who live or lived in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a passionate personal adventure that made its mark by means of careful and unbiased choices.
The collection was born of the meeting of Jean Pigozzi, an Italian, Harvard-educated, venture capitalist and André Magnin, a French independant curator, specialized in art from non-Western cultures, and especially sub-Saharan art. It came into being at a time when non-Western contemporary art was largely ignored on the international scene, and was founded shortly after the exhibition The Magicians of the Earth in Paris in 1989 at the Georges Pompidou Center and the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris, the first truly international exhibition where contemporary works from all over the world were shown on an equal footing.
The collection holds works of more than 160 artists, and includes all forms of art : drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and photography. Some of its artists live in large cities and attended art schools or were “self-taught”, others are from remote areas and work within local traditions that they extend and enrich.
The collection doesn’t have a permanent venue yet, but thanks to the exhibitions that it conceives, and the catalogues and books that are published, it reveals to an ever-increasing public the spectacular creativity of sub-Saharan Africa.
The Jean Pigozzi collection has thus made a substantial contribution to the international recognition of artists like Seydou Keïta, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, George Lilanga, Malick Sidibé, Moke, Chéri Samba, Romuald Hazoumé or Bodys Isek Kingelez and has enriched the permanent collections of several African and Western museums by donating works. Frédéric Bruly Bouabré is present in the Abidjan National Museum, Romuald Hazoumé in the Porto-Novo Museum, Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé in the Bamako Museum and in 2018, Jean Pigozzi donated some 40 pieces to the MoMA in New-York.
Jean Pigozzi and André Magnin
on The Jean Pigozzi African Art Collection