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Ken Turchi
IU Maurer School of Law

Last modified: Friday, February 24, 2012

IU Maurer School of Law professor donates African sculpture to school

Feb. 24, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor with a longtime interest in African art has given the school a significant piece from his collection.

Gene Shreve, Richard S. Melvin Professor of Law, has donated a sculptural ensemble depicting a criminal trial under customary law of the Baule people. The piece dates from 1900-1920 and is from the Ivory Coast.

A knowledgeable and passionate collector, Shreve first became interested in African art several years ago while teaching at the Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II).

"The university is located near the Place Maubert, where I used to see African artists displaying their work every day," he said. "My attraction grew as time passed, and I began building my own collection."

Several years later, Shreve fulfilled a lifelong wish to visit Africa when he was invited to teach in Monrovia, Liberia. His time in Liberia furthered his interest in locating authentic African works -- ones actually used in ceremonies or for other religious purposes.

Shreve art donation

Shreve has donated other works of art to the university, including an equestrian marionette from the Bamana people of West Africa, which is on permanent display at the IU Art Museum; and a painting of the iconic Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Ala., which hangs in the Maurer School of Law.

As part of the law school's recognition of Black History Month, a ceremony and reception honoring Shreve will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, in the Law School Library, 211 S. Indiana Ave., Bloomington, where the work will be on permanent display. The public is invited to this event. More information about Shreve's donation can be found in the Winter 2011 issue of ergo, the law school's alumni magazine.