Ancestors of the Lake - Webb, Virginia-Lee; Hermkens, Anna-Karina; Peltier, Philippe; Smidt, Dirk; Widjojo, Muridan; Schmidt, Andrea; van Duuren, David - Yale University Press

Art and Architecture

Distributed for The Menil Collection 

Ancestors of the Lake

Art of Lake Sentani and Humboldt Bay, New Guinea

  • Edited by Virginia-Lee Webb; With contributions by Anna-Karina Hermkens, Philippe Peltier, Andrea E. Schmidt, Dirk Smidt, David van Duuren, Kristina Van Dyke, Virginia-Lee Webb, and Muridan Widjojo
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Selected as the winner of this year's Prix International du Livre d'Art Tribal, International Tribal Book Prize (UK Award)

After Dutch expeditions reached New Guinea's Lake Sentani island and Humboldt Bay in the mid-1800s, Western visitors began collecting works by local artists. Ancestors of the Lake is a stunning look at the region's distinctive art, such as its highly stylized wooden sculptures and decoratively and abstractly designed barkcloths. This beautifully illustrated volume brings together many of these important historic pieces for the first time, including the landmark collection of French writer and art dealer Jacques Viot, along with photographs by Paul Wirz. The book also explores how European Surrealist artists found inspiration in the art of New Guinea, highlighted by rarely seen photographs by Man Ray of Sentani sculpture.

Virginia-Lee Webb is an art historian and retired Research Curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


The Menil Collection 

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, UK