CAACART: The Jean Pigozzi Collection
The Contemporary African Art Collection
The Contemporary African Art Collection (C.A.A.C. The Pigozzi Collection), based in Geneva, is the largest private collection in the world of contemporary African art. It includes works of artists who live or lived in sub-Saharan Africa. The C.A.A.C. 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 Andre Magnin, a French independant curator, specialized in art from non-Western cultures, and especially sub-Saharan art. The C.A.A.C. came into being at a time when non-Western contemporary art was largely ignored on the international scene. It was founded shortly after the exhibition The Magicians of the Earth in Paris, of which Andre Magnin was the Deputy Curator. It took place in 1989 at the Georges Pompidou Center and the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris, and was the first truly international exhibition where contemporary works from all over the world were shown on an equal footing.
The collection includes works from all forms of art : drawing, painting, sculpture, installations, 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 C.A.A.C. collects the works of more than 80 artists who stand for the wealth and diversity of contemporary African art. It is constantly acquiring new pieces and remains in close personal contact with its artists. The collection is not permanently exhibited at a particular site, 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 Hazoumè or Bodys Isek Kingelez and has often enriched the permanent collections of African museums by donating works. Now Frédéric Bruly Bouabré is present in the Abidjan National Museum, Romuald Hazoumè in the Porto-Novo Museum, and Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé in the Bamako Museum.