Daniel Marchesseau in memory of André Fourquet

Born in 1947 in Paris, Daniel Marchesseau is a General Heritage Curator and Art Historian, and was the Director of the musée de la Vie Romantique in Paris.

André Fourquet (Saint-Laurent du Maroni, 1928 - Salamanque, 2001) was considered as being one of the greatest Parisian collectors in the field of arts from Africa and Oceania.

He was a member of the pre-selection committee for the acquisitions of the musée du quai Branly, but the Museum was only able to benefit from his wisdom for a period of time that was regrettably too short. Even before his short input into the Museum, he had been highly attentive to the future museum's program and its role on the national and international stage with the opening of the Pavillon des Sessions in the Louvre Museum in 2000. He had developed an in-depth knowledge of the arts of Africa, with a special taste for the arts from Gabon. He was also interested in other cultures, especially those of Oceania, of which which he had acquired remarkable testimonials and works.

In 2002, a figure of a Fang shrine guard (Gabon) was donated by Daniel Marchesseau to the musée du quai Branly in memory of André Fourquet.

figure of Fang shrine guard - Click to enlarge, open in a new window
figure of Fang shrine guard (Gabon), 19th century.
figure of Fang shrine guard - Click to enlarge, open in a new window
Donation Daniel Marchesseau in memory of André Fourquet
figure of Fang shrine guard - Click to enlarge, open in a new window
© musée du quai Branly, photo Patrick Gries and Valérie Torre

This Fang shrine guard figure, still called a Byéri male statuette is exhibited in the musée du quai Branly's Permanent Collections (Africa section).

Description of the Fang shrine guard figure

It is a 19th century statuette represented with bent legs and arms straight along the side of the body. The head, quite round in shape, has plaits at the back. The face has shrunken eyes, the neck is broad with muscular shoulders and arms on a longish body. The presence of a tenon makes it possible to attach the object onto a bark box. For the Fangs (South Cameroon and Gabon) the Byéri, the worship of ancestors, is of primordial importance. The skulls and some of the bones of the ancestors are preserved in a cylindrical box made of bark. A wooden statuette or head evokes the ancestors and is attached to this shrine with a tenon. This sculpture which guards the relics is also known as Byéri. The Byéri is consulted at important moments (initiation, conflicts, sudden death,…) and also for hunting and fishing. The skulls are then removed from the shrines and sprayed with blood from animal sacrifices. The statuettes, detached from the shrines, are coated with palm oil which gives them a gleaming appearance.

The André Fourquet donation

This donation, offered by Daniel Marchesseau, enabled three significant works to enter the Museum in 2004:

  • Six-eyed Bakwele mask (former Charles Lapicque collection)
  • Puni mask (former Vlaminck collection)
  • Mourning mask, Détroit de Torrès, (former Hooper collection)