Grebo masks could not be considered as realistic. They were a "monoxyle" (one-tree) composition made of geometric elements protruding on a flat panel. Yet the spectator perceives multiple mouths and eyes that constitute a human or animal head. The eyes are solid pedunculated cylinders painted in the middle of their flat surface to simulate pupils.
Picasso had a Grebo mask. Assisted by Kahnweiler, he understood that realism is not useful in art and may even weaken the mystical meaning. The multiplication of the eyes in the Grebo masks was probably to express the vision of the invisible, somehow like the third eye of wisdom in Asia. By increasing the power of surveillance, it helped to protect against the enemy, like the Janus in other African ethnic groups.
Picasso wanted to create a cubist sculpture without falling into abstraction. His 1912 Guitare, directly inspired by the reverted volumes of Grebo eyes, depicted the holes by tubes for the first time in Western sculpture.
Vérité owned two Grebo masks very similar to one another in one of the strangest configurations, with two faces on top of each other. Each face consists of two pairs of eyes, two lips and a nasal bar. The teeth are simulated in chevrons at the juxtaposition of the lips. The upper mouth serves as a forehead to the lower face. The summit ornament is different, in crown in one case and a pair of horns in the other.
These very tall pieces were made of light wood that attracted the xylophagi. As the figured eyes were not hollowed out, the vision of the dancer was achieved through two tiny holes between upper and lower faces.
The crowned mask was sold for € 1,32M including premium by Christie's on June 23, 2015 over a lower estimate of € 500K. It is 88 cm high and its board is painted in dark blue. The 83 cm high horned mask is estimated € 700K for sale by Sotheby's in Paris on December 12, lot 50.