Seydou Keïta’s Portraits: A Body of Representations - Contemporary And
Author Gauthier Lesturgie took a closer look at the retrospective exhibition dedicated to legendary studio portraitist Seydou Keïta

Seydou Keïta. Untitled, 1954. Silver print. Contemporary African Art Collection
© Seydou Keïta / SKPEAC / photo courtesy CAAC – The Pigozzi Collection, Geneva

In 1991 in New York, André Magnin visits the exhibition Africa Explores: 20th Century African Art at the Museum for African Art. He is struck by two photographic portraits by an anonymous artist from Bamako, and decides to go to Mali to look for him. Once there the photographer Malick Sidibé quickly identifies the photos of his erstwhile mentor: Seydou Keïta.

At the time, Magnin was working for the collector Jean Pigozzi and was putting together a collection with him dedicated to contemporary African art: the Contemporary African Art Collection. In 1994, Pigozzi organized the first solo exhibition of Keïta’s photographs at the Fondation Cartier in Paris.

The story of Keïta’s work tells us about [...]

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