The Art of Daily Life

Selected Pieces from the Collection of Alan Marcuson and Diane Hall

The Art of Daily Life is a selling exhibition that focuses on a small selection of every day, household objects from sub-Saharan Africa. All have been carefully chosen for their refinement, age, rarity, condition and most importantly their ethno-aesthetic sensibility.

All the pieces in this exhibition were made from modest materials that were easily available, such as wood, clay, gourds and fibre. For centuries highly skilled and dextrous craftsmen, using simple tools, have created an array of household objects with imagination and care.

These containers, implements and furnishings were made and used in a traditional context, but their simple forms and functions are often infused with a larger cultural meaning. For example, the burnished royal milk vessels of the Buganda Kingdom in southern Uganda were made by official Nyoro potters who were given land and cattle in exchange for their wares. They were signifiers that alluded to family, tribe, social status and profession and would have been recognised as such.
The distinction between art and craft vanishes in traditional African societies where everything created had a function - and almost nothing was purely decorative.The pleasure of small daily activities, such as preparing a meal, was heightened by the use of carefully crafted objects often embellished with motifs and patterns that spoke to who they were. The pieces shown in this exhibition come from a time and place where every object was handmade, either within the home or by a specialist craftsperson in the community.

Marcuson & Hall are internationally known dealers specialising in textiles, tribal arts and Japanese kimono.They have sold individual pieces and large collections to museums and collectors across the globe. In recent years they have focused on working closely with collectors both advising and helping form specialised collections. Sharing their passion and vision has been a driving force.
Alan Marcuson started in the world of oriental carpets and publishing and was publisher of Hali magazine, the specialist rug magazine for many years. Diane Hall began at Butterfield & Butterfield, the well known auction house in San Francisco and later studied Asian Art at SOAS and Sotheby’s.

Upon moving to Brussels, they fell in love with the beauty and refinement of tribal and ethnographic objects made for daily life, learning everything they could about the subject and creating a unique collection of everyday treasures.They have sold individual pieces and entire collections to museums and collectors across the globe, including the Victoria and Albert Museum,The Quai Branly in Paris, Los Angeles County Museum of Art,Taiwan’s National Palace Museum and the Nour Collection.