Monographs on African Artists an Annotated Bibliography
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Lattier, Christian, 1925-1978

Konaté, Yacouba. Christian Lattier: le sculpteur aux mains nues. Saint-Maur: France: Sépia, 1993. 141pp. illus., bibliog. NB1240.I75 K82 1993 AFA. OCLC 32524206.

Christian Lattier was a profoundly original sculptor who knew both success and torments in his life. Trained in France, where he discovered both his African roots and his distinctive medium: rope sculpture, Lattier returned to Côte d'Ivoire in 1962 in the euphoric wake of independence, but his prickly character and cantankerous genius put him at odds with the Ivoirien art establishment. Although he won the grand prize at the 1966 Dakar Festival and had exhibited in Europe, North America and Brazil, his career at home, especially during the final decade of his life, was marked by personality conflicts, battles with the school authorities where he taught (Institut National des Arts), and struggles against his own mortality. A smoldering, explosive temperament was masked by the image of a pipe-smoking professor and the whimsey of his car painted rose color.

Lattier's corpus embraces a remarkable diversity of subjects and themes. "Panthère," the larger-than-life crouching rope panther, one of his most powerful sculptures, won the Chenavard Prize in France in 1954, yet was turned down by three museums including IFAN. Lattier was bitter. "Panthère" seems far removed in spirit and intention from the emaciated "Christ" or his series of graceful, non-fearsome masks. He was not above slightly scatological humor, as in the work "Interdit d'uriner," which was a commentary on Abidjan. Nineteen of Lattier's sculptures are today in the Musée National de Côte d'Ivoire in Abidjan (see inventory, pp. 129-138).