he lived there from 1946 to 1949 while Edmond
was completing what would be his last mission
in the Congo. It marked the beginning of a lifelong
African adventure that he continues to engage
After his secondary studies at Athénée Robert
Catteau in Brussels, Pierre studied law at the
Université Libre de Bruxelles. He had already
developed an interest in art and antiquities in
general, and he was continually deepening his
knowledge of the traditional African artworks
he had become so sensitized to in his home early
in his life. He abandoned any ambitions he
might have had to be involved in law professionally
and embarked on a much more adventurous
career as an art dealer. He specialized in Central
African objects and especially those from the
Congo, taking advantage of the particular opportunity
that existed at the time to acquire fi ne
Tabwa and Hemba statuary.
While the art of Central Africa was the focus
of his interest, as a dealer he did not neglect
West African works.
Pierre’s thirst for discovering objects has always
been accompanied by a quest for knowledge
about the cultures that created them, which
he considers indispensable. Documentation for
the artworks’ contexts of origin often exists, and
Pierre has spent a great deal of time immersed in
specialized research works, travel accounts, and
a variety of other documents, especially publications
from the distant past. He is often in direct
contact with active fi eld researchers as well and
has been greatly aided in his work by his family’s
vast library on the arts of Africa, undoubtedly
one of the most extensive and comprehensive in
private hands in Belgium.
The movement of objects is equally important
to him. Indeed, established collections, some
FIG. 12 (bottom): Figure of a dog,
nikisi. Kongo, DR Congo.
Wood, pigments, mirror, iron. H: 18 cm.
Above, left to right:
FIG. 7: Edmond Dartevelle
and his wife, presenting their
family to a village chief.
Lower Congo, 1946.
FIG. 8: Andrée Denise
Puissant, wife of Edmond
Dartevelle, during an
expedition to collect objects
for the MRAH, 1937.
FIG. 9: Edmond Dartevelle
during the same expedition,
FIG. 10: Pierre Dartevelle
in front of a Jeep, taken by
Philippe Guimiot. Cameroon,
FIG. 11: Edmond Dartevelle
and his children posed in a
tree. Lower Congo. 1930s.