The inaugural exhibition of the Jolika Collection that accompanied the opening of the new de Young in 2005 dramatically transformed the international profile of New Guinea art at the Museums, as well as its entire collection of Oceanic art. More than four hundred masterworks of New Guinea art, gifts and promised gifts of Marcia and John Friede, are currently on view in the gallery.
The Jolika Collection (named for Marcia and John Friede's three children, John, Lisa, and Karen) has been amassed over four decades of unwavering connoisseurship. Numerous individual works are considered of great importance to the corpus of New Guinea art. Many are from the Sepik Province, known for its diverse and exceptional art forms. But the broad-based collection also represents the hundreds of clans and art-producing villages throughout the island of New Guinea. Important collectors and anthropologists figure prominently in the provenance of many works, including Douglas Newton, the first curator of the Rockefeller Gallery of AOA art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Each work in this extraordinary collection has multivalent stories to share with future generations of visitors and scholars at the de Young.
Exploring the Highlands of New Guinea: Art, Science and Conservation is a new cross-disciplinary educational initiative conceived by the Jolika Collection in partnership with the Conservatory of Flowers, the California Academy of Sciences and the Enga Tradition and Transition Centre. This program uses resources from each partner institution to create an innovative and interactive experience for schoolchildren, families and the general public.