These images are details from Papua New Guinean carved wood sculptures on display at the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature on the campus of the University of Richmond. These sculptures were produced during the 20th century, collected in 1970 by noted Richmond philanthropist Inger Rice and gifted to the museum. Considering the time frame of production it’s interesting to think of these works as Papua New Guinean contemporary art, but certainly reflecting ancient rich and diverse cultural traditions. It’s obvious that numerous western civilization artists during the 19th and 20th centuries were influenced by the graphic tradition of Oceania, notably Paul Gauguin, whose Primitivist work in turn influenced Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.
The Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature is a gem of a museum, pun intended. The museum houses a vast collection of natural specimens, featuring natural objects, cultural art and artifacts, and decorative and fine arts.