Exhibition | Peintures des lointains

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 4, 2018

Now on view at the Musée du Quai Branly:

Paintings from Afar: The Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac Collection
Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, 30 January 2018 — 6 January 2019

Curated by Sarah Ligner

For this initial exhibition devoted to the painting collection at the quai Branly, Paintings from Afar (Peintures des lointains) brings together nearly two hundred canvases and graphic works selected from among the five hundred works in the entire collection and dating from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century. It is a composite and largely unknown collection, where Ange Tissier’s odalisque sits alongside portraits of American Indians by George Catlin and scenes of day-to-day life in Cairo by Émile Bernard stand shoulder to shoulder with prints and drawings of Tahiti by Matisse and Gauguin.

This collection tells the story of an encounter with the Other and the Elsewhere, questioning the evolution of the artistic perspective of the unknown. In a rapidly expanding colonial Europe, Western art takes different paths when faced with the shock of a world that welcomes it in, first succumbing to the temptation of exoticism, where the exaltation of colour and light fuels dreams of a luxurious and exquisite Eastern world, before later coming to represent a more realistic, ethnographic perspective that is mindful of the Other. From oneirism and naturalism, fantasy to documentary and romanticism to colonial propaganda, the collection offers a reflection of artistic and political history.

The exhibition is curated by Sarah Ligner, Head of the Historic and Contemporary Globalisation Heritage Unit at the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac.

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