West Africa has a rich and long artistic tradition. In particular, Ivory Coast is home to a vast number of sculptors, some of which have created work that bears comparison with masters of European art, such as Michelangelo or Picasso. Yet the view still prevails that no aesthetic principles can be found in traditional African art, nor that independent artistic personalities have ever emerged from this tradition. Only tribal workshops with anonymous artists are identified. African Masters proves this simplistic and patronising verdict wrong. Essays by renowned scholars investigate the role of the artists in traditional, and modern, society, their ideal of beauty and its transformation into works of art. The book also offers the first comprehensive overview of the most significant sculptors from Ivory Coast and its neighbouring countries. It discusses the oeuvre of ancient masters from the people of Guro, Senufo, Dan, Baule, Lobi, and from the lagoons and puts them in context with local contemporary art. African Masters features around 200 masterpieces from private and public collections, including that of Museum Rietberg Zurich, all in full colour and many of full-page plates.