The World’s Only Global Musical Instrument Museum ®

Marc L. Felix

International Expert on African Art;
Organizer and Curator of International Exhibitions on African Arts

Marc Felix began Latin/Greek studies at Sint-Jan Berchmanscollege before switching to art studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Brussels, between 1957 and 1959. He also followed courses on art history, particularly non-European art, at the Belgian Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire.

Felix made his first trip to the Congo in 1959–1960, before being conscripted into the École Royale d’Infanterie in 1961. In 1962, he opened an antique shop in Brussels that included non-European ethnic and tribal art. Between 1964 and 1966, he lived in the Middle East to study, among other things, cultural relationships between Southern Arabia and East Africa. Between 1966 and 1971, he resided in Nigeria, Gabon, and Cameroon. From 1972 until the late 1990s, additional trips to Central and East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Melanesia allowed him to develop an expertise on ritual art and cultural relationships in those areas. His ethnographic work has included work on musical instruments and their recordings in Africa, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and New Guinea.

Forming a partnership with French dealer Philippe Guimiot from 1972 to 1975, Felix opened Gallery Continents in Brussels, specializing in ethnic art. In 1975, he opened his own gallery, Tribal Arts, specializing in ritual art from the Congo, until 2001.

Felix has traveled regularly to the United States to consult on Congolese ritual art for major museums, universities, and collectors. In 1985, he founded the Congo Basin Art History Research Center in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire); after the 1991 riots, the center moved to Brussels where it is still very active. He has written twenty major books on Central African art and published numerous monographs, articles, and essays. He is the founder and director of Congo Arts, a gallery specializing in thematic exhibitions on Central African ritual arts and crafts, from 2001 to the present.

Felix has organized and curated more than forty exhibitions on Congolese ritual art in Austria, Belgium, Congo, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Japan, the Netherlands, the United States, and Taiwan. He served as vice president of the Belgian Association of Dealers in Non-European Art (BADNEA) from 1990 until 2009. Over the course of his career, Felix has vetted numerous international tribal art museums and shows. Felix recently finished editing the last of eight volumes of the series of books devoted to the inventory of traditional ivory sculpture in Congo, entitled White Gold, Black Hands: Ivory Sculpture in Congo. At MIM, he is a member of the board of directors.