Art and Art History 300. French Art and Its Others (1830-1930)
This seminar examines how a fascination with cultures outside of Europe motivated several artists and designers working in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century France. Modern art in France was profoundly shaped by a series of direct visual appropriations from African, Middle Eastern, and Asian artistic traditions, as well as a system of beliefs projected onto those “Other” cultures in question.
Through close study of select artists (Delacroix, Gérôme, Renoir, Gauguin, Picasso, Giacometti) and case studies from the visual culture of French colonialism, we examine the relationship between art and the political structures of imperialism, and the role of visual representation in shaping constructions of exoticism, race, nation, and sexuality. Readings will introduce students to the various methodologies that art historians, anthropologists, and postcolonial theorists have used to unpack the complex questions surrounding Orientalism and modernist primitivism.