By Nii B. Andrews.

The famous, vast CAA collection of Jean Pigozzi will get a dedicated museum in Cannes in the south of France. 

The works of many eminent African artists are held in the Pigozzi collection. 

They include Bodys Isek Kingelez, Moké, Romuald Hazoumè, and the photographers Seydou Keïta, Malick Sidibé, and J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere and also the current art market bombshell – Aboudia. 

KOFFI KOUAKOU, Untitled, 2000. © 2010-2016 The Contemporary African Art Collection.

In 2019, Pigozzi donated 45 pieces from the collection to MoMA; a gift that the museum described as “transformative”; it led to a tremendous uplift of the museum’s holdings.

In choosing Cannes as the site, Pigozzi explained, “Cannes is a small city but it has three million visitors annually because of the Cannes Film Festival and tourism.” 

It is therefore expected that the foot and Ferrari traffic associated with the city will contribute to the patronage of the CAA museum; increased visibility for the African artists and a corresponding further markedly rising appreciation of CAA.

ABU BAKARR MANSARAY, Allien Resurrection, 2004. © 2010-2016 The Contemporary African Art Collection.

Even though the museum is scheduled to open after 2025, there is an ongoing  preliminary exhibition featuring works from the collection at the Gare Maritime in Cannes until August 21.

Featured are over 100 paintings, sculptures, and photographs created from the 1960s to date.

It is expected that Pigozzi will donate several thousand CAA pieces to the Cannes municipality. 

SAMUEL KANE KWEI, Mercedes, 1993. © 2010-2016 The Contemporary African Art Collection

Then in return, the deconsecrated Saint-Roch chapel, which has around 64,000 square feet of space, will be renovated to welcome his fabulous collection.

The plan is that the exhibits will be continuously renewed annually with Pigozzi himself as the artistic director for the first five years.

It is therefore not at all surprising that over the years Pigozzi – a Havard alumnus, has been described as businessman, investor, photographer, collector, patron of the arts, philanthropist, etc.

CYPRIEN TOKOUDAGBA, Vodoun Agotonon Water Diety, 2000. © 2010-2016 The Contemporary African Art Collection

Pigozzi’s interest in CAA began in 1989 with the exhibition “Magiciens de la Terre,” which brought together artists from all over the world to the Centre Pompidou.

With respect to his choice and passion for collecting CAA instead of the other genres that were then in vogue, Pigozzi stated in a published July 2016 interview:

 “…..culturally I think my choice is more interesting. Because when I started, everyone thought that I was an idiot. 

But now many museums – like Pompidou, Tate, Metropolitan in New York, Los Angeles County Museum – they all want to do shows from my collection”.

RIGOBERT NIMI, Usine Robotisée, 2003. © 2010-2016 The Contemporary African Art Collection.
J.D. ‘OKHAI OJEIKERE, Oluweri Headdress, 1975. © 2010-2016 The Contemporary African Art Collection.
CALIXTE DAKPOGAN, La mort debout. Resuscitated, 2002. © 2010-2016 The Contemporary African Art Collection.
KUDZANAI CHIURAI, The Minister of Finance, 2009. © 2010-2016 The Contemporary African Art Collection. (NBA COMMENT – Meeeehn!! LMAO, ♡♡♡; Chiurai has struck gold!).

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