DMA Insight

The Gustave and Franyo Schindler Collection of African Sculpture

Published in 2003 on the occasion of the Dallas Museum of Art's centennial, this short essay by previous Dallas Museum of Art curator John Lunsford reflects back to the 1974 acquisition of the Schindler Collection of African Sculpture.

After the acquisition of The Clark and Frances Stillman Collection of Congo Sculpture in 1969, the second major addition to the Dallas Museum of Art's African holdings was The Gustave and Franyo Schindler Collection of African Sculpture, given in 1974 by the McDermott Foundation in honor of Eugene McDermott. This group of fifty pieces (over the next decade the Schindlers gave several more works) bolstered the Museum's collection of central African masks and sculptures and extended the geographical and cultural group coverage of its African holdings to include much of West Africa. Most of the objects in the Schindler Collection now in the Dallas Museum of Art were acquired before 1965, and a number were included in various museum exhibitions before coming to Dallas.

With the Schindler Collection, the Dallas Museum of Art was able to expand and enrich its educational programs by focusing on examples which served more varied, culturally important functions and embodied an even wider stylistic range than was already represented in the Museum's collections. An especially rich range of masks exemplified the resonant transformational qualities of that kind of object. Perhaps the most-exhibited and best-known piece is the Senufo spirit figure (1974.SC.14), which is one of the two or three finest known examples of its class.

Adapted from

John Lunsford, "The Gustave and Franyo Schindler Collection of African Sculpture," in Dallas Museum of Art 100 Years, eds. Dorothy Kosinski, et al. (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art, 2003), 35.