This bibliography is limited to substantive monographs and exhibition catalogs about 20th-21st century African artists. Focusing on a single artist, these texts are usually written by a scholar or critic who has conducted art historical research on the artist and/or who has gathered for publication a wide range of images of the artist's work. It also includes autobiographical writings by artists. Substantial means something more than a pamphlet, brochure, or short illustrated catalog. Excluded are publications of less than fifty pages. Also excluded are exhibition catalogs of solo exhibitions, unless they are retrospective in nature, more than fifty pages in length, and contain art historical, biographical or contextual information.
The purpose of delimiting the bibliography in this way is to highlight art historical scholarship which treats in depth the life and history of individual artists. The secondary and indirect aim is to point the way to artists yet unexplored. It is startling to realize how few substantial artist's monographs there are amidst the profusion of writing on modern African art. This bibliography is supposed to extract the polished gems from the stone.