Catalogue


Orientalist aesthetics : art, colonialism, and French North Africa, 1880-1930 /
Roger Benjamin.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2003.
description
xxi, 352 p., 16 p. of plates : ill. (some col.), map ; 29 cm.
ISBN
0520222172 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2003.
isbn
0520222172 (alk. paper)
contents note
Orient or France? : nineteenth-century debates -- Renoir and impressionist orientalism -- A society for orientalists -- Orientatlists in the public eye -- Colonial panoramania -- Traveling scholarships and the academic exotic -- Matisse and modernist orientalism -- Advancing the indigenous decorative arts -- Mammeri and Racim, painters of the Maghreb -- Colonial museology in Algiers.
catalogue key
4791736
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 283-335) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Roger Benjamin's Orientalist Aesthetics dramatically enhances our understanding of French colonial visual culture during the period of colonialism's greatest ambitions. It is a richly nuanced book, about the densely imbalanced connections between France and North Africa, full of fascinating images and elegant analysis, exemplary in its wide-ranging attention to art works, popular spectacle, institutions, scholarship, and the contradictory workings of colonial culture and power. This book should be read not only by art historians and North Africa specialists, but by anyone concerned with colonial cultures and their legacies."--Nicholas Thomas, author of Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial Culture "Orientalist Aesthetics represents an impressive feat of research and a tale heretofore untold. Especially fascinating is Roger Benjamin's choice not simply to interrogate the institutional history of French Orientalist painting, but to consider more broadly the French management of indigenous arts as well as some of the Algerian artists who fashioned careers during this period. This is an original and responsible reconstruction of a significant and complex history."--Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, author of Extremities: Painting Empire in Post-Revolutionary France "At once broad and minutious, Orientalist Aesthetics treats the major institutions and actors who brought about the encyclopedic Orientalist movement. Roger Benjamin's work has the potential to significantly advance the dialogue between Europe and the United States on current problems in post-colonial studies."--FranÇois Pouillon, author of Les deux vies d'Étienne Dinet, peintre en Islam: L'AlgÉrie et l'hÉritage colonial "Roger Benjamin's engrossing and painstakingly researched book breaks new ground in the study of Orientalism. The fifty years of the book's novel compass have been virtually untouched by previous studies. Benjamin's subtle understanding of the complexities of the colonial encounter sets a very high standard of theoretical analysis. Orientalist Aesthetics covers a broad terrain of individual artists (from the modernists Renoir and Matisse to the barely known Algerians Mammeri and Racim), art criticism, and institutions. The book tells an altogether fascinating story, and the author's detailed historical knowledge, passion, good sense, and acuity are evident on every page."--Hollis Clayson, author of Paris in Despair: Art and Everyday Life under Siege (1870-71) "Benjamin establishes meaningful parallels between painting and other artistic (as well as literary) productions, including photography and the decorative arts. He astutely analyzes the effect of colonial policies on the preservation and 'development' of indigenous arts and crafts. All these elements are examined within the ever-shifting parameters of French colonial policies in North Africa."--Zeynep Çelik, author of Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers under French Rule
Flap Copy
"Roger Benjamin's Orientalist Aesthetics dramatically enhances our understanding of French colonial visual culture during the period of colonialism's greatest ambitions. It is a richly nuanced book, about the densely imbalanced connections between France and North Africa, full of fascinating images and elegant analysis, exemplary in its wide-ranging attention to art works, popular spectacle, institutions, scholarship, and the contradictory workings of colonial culture and power. This book should be read not only by art historians and North Africa specialists, but by anyone concerned with colonial cultures and their legacies."--Nicholas Thomas, author of Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial Culture " Orientalist Aesthetics represents an impressive feat of research and a tale heretofore untold. Especially fascinating is Roger Benjamin's choice not simply to interrogate the institutional history of French Orientalist painting, but to consider more broadly the French management of indigenous arts as well as some of the Algerian artists who fashioned careers during this period. This is an original and responsible reconstruction of a significant and complex history."--Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, author of Extremities: Painting Empire in Post-Revolutionary France "At once broad and minutious, Orientalist Aesthetics treats the major institutions and actors who brought about the encyclopedic Orientalist movement. Roger Benjamin's work has the potential to significantly advance the dialogue between Europe and the United States on current problems in post-colonial studies."--François Pouillon, author of Les deux vies d'Étienne Dinet, peintre en Islam: L'Algérie et l'héritage colonial "Roger Benjamin's engrossing and painstakingly researched book breaks new ground in the study of Orientalism. The fifty years of the book's novel compass have been virtually untouched by previous studies. Benjamin's subtle understanding of the complexities of the colonial encounter sets a very high standard of theoretical analysis. Orientalist Aesthetics covers a broad terrain of individual artists (from the modernists Renoir and Matisse to the barely known Algerians Mammeri and Racim), art criticism, and institutions. The book tells an altogether fascinating story, and the author's detailed historical knowledge, passion, good sense, and acuity are evident on every page."--Hollis Clayson, author of Paris in Despair: Art and Everyday Life under Siege (1870-71) "Benjamin establishes meaningful parallels between painting and other artistic (as well as literary) productions, including photography and the decorative arts. He astutely analyzes the effect of colonial policies on the preservation and 'development' of indigenous arts and crafts. All these elements are examined within the ever-shifting parameters of French colonial policies in North Africa."--Zeynep Çelik, author of Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers under French Rule
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-01-01:
Orientalist Aesthetics is one of the rare books to examine modernism anew from both the Western and non-Western sides of the cultural exchange. It thus offers a grounded, useful corrective to much scholarship on "primitivism" and the avant-garde. For these reasons alone, the contributions of Benjamin (Power Institute, Univ. of Sydney) have great potential to expand contemporary understanding of the history of modern art (cf. his Orientalism: Delacroix to Klee, 1997). This book should be read by all those interested in the history of modern Europe, in colonialism and postcolonial studies, in Middle East studies, as well as those in art and art history who are the first audiences for this book. Benjamin has curated exhibits on Orientalist art and has written extensively on the work of Henri Matisse, areas of his scholarship that take new form here. Through ten engaging chapters he examines artists well known (Matisse, Renoir), anonymous (indigenous artisans), and long forgotten (Maghrebi artists Mammeri and Racim, and members of the Society of French Orientalist Painters). As accessible as it is erudite, this outstanding book sets a new standard for serious scholarship on Orientalist art. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All levels. J. E. Housefield Texas State University-San Marcos
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 2004
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Summaries
Long Description
Lavishly illustrated with exotic images ranging from Renoir's forgotten Algerian oeuvre to the abstract vision of Matisse's Morocco and beyond, this book is the first history of Orientalist art during the period of high modernism. Roger Benjamin, drawing on a decade of research in untapped archives, introduces many unfamiliar paintings, posters, miniatures, and panoramas and discovers an art movement closely bound to French colonial expansion.Orientalist Aestheticsapproaches the visual culture of exoticism by ranging across the decorative arts, colonial museums, traveling scholarships, and art criticism in the Salons of Paris and Algiers. Benjamin's rediscovery of the important Society of French Orientalist Painters provides a critical context for understanding a lush body of work, including that of indigenous Algerian artists never before discussed in English. The painter-critic Eugegrave;ne Fromentin tackled the unfamiliar atmospheric conditions of the desert, Etienne Dinet sought a more truthful mode of ethnographic painting by converting to Islam, and Mohammed Racim melded the Persian miniature with Western perspective. Benjamin considers armchair Orientalists concocting dreams from studio bric-agrave;-brac, naturalists who spent years living in the oases of the Sahara, and Fauve and Cubist travelers who transposed the discoveries of the Parisian Salons to create decors of indigenous figures and tropical plants. The network that linked these artists with writers and museum curators was influenced by a complex web of tourism, rapid travel across the Mediterranean, and the march of modernity into a colonized culture.Orientalist Aestheticsshows how colonial policy affected aesthetics, how Europeans visualized cultural difference, and how indigenous artists in turn manipulated Western visual languages.
Main Description
Lavishly illustrated with exotic images ranging from Renoirs forgotten Algerian oeuvre to the abstract vision of Matisses Morocco and beyond, this book is the first history of Orientalist art during the period of high modernism. Roger Benjamin, drawing on a decade of research in untapped archives, introduces many unfamiliar paintings, posters, miniatures, and panoramas and discovers an art movement closely bound to French colonial expansion. "Orientalist Aesthetics "approaches the visual culture of exoticism by ranging across the decorative arts, colonial museums, traveling scholarships, and art criticism in the Salons of Paris and Algiers. Benjamins rediscovery of the important Society of French Orientalist Painters provides a critical context for understanding a lush body of work, including that of indigenous Algerian artists never before discussed in English. The painter-critic Eugene Fromentin tackled the unfamiliar atmospheric conditions of the desert, Etienne Dinet sought a more truthful mode of ethnographic painting by converting to Islam, and Mohammed Racim melded the Persian miniature with Western perspective. Benjamin considers armchair Orientalists concocting dreams from studio bric-a-brac, naturalists who spent years living in the oases of the Sahara, and Fauve and Cubist travelers who transposed the discoveries of the Parisian Salons to create decors of indigenous figures and tropical plants. The network that linked these artists with writers and museum curators was influenced by a complex web of tourism, rapid travel across the Mediterranean, and the march of modernity into a colonized culture. "Orientalist Aesthetics "shows how colonial policy affected aesthetics, how Europeans visualized cultural difference, and how indigenous artists in turn manipulated Western visual languages.
Main Description
Lavishly illustrated with exotic images ranging from Renoir's forgotten Algerian oeuvre to the abstract vision of Matisse's Morocco and beyond, this book is the first history of Orientalist art during the period of high modernism. Roger Benjamin, drawing on a decade of research in untapped archives, introduces many unfamiliar paintings, posters, miniatures, and panoramas and discovers an art movement closely bound to French colonial expansion. Orientalist Aesthetics approaches the visual culture of exoticism by ranging across the decorative arts, colonial museums, traveling scholarships, and art criticism in the Salons of Paris and Algiers. Benjamin's rediscovery of the important Society of French Orientalist Painters provides a critical context for understanding a lush body of work, including that of indigenous Algerian artists never before discussed in English. The painter-critic Eugène Fromentin tackled the unfamiliar atmospheric conditions of the desert, Etienne Dinet sought a more truthful mode of ethnographic painting by converting to Islam, and Mohammed Racim melded the Persian miniature with Western perspective. Benjamin considers armchair Orientalists concocting dreams from studio bric-à-brac, naturalists who spent years living in the oases of the Sahara, and Fauve and Cubist travelers who transposed the discoveries of the Parisian Salons to create decors of indigenous figures and tropical plants. The network that linked these artists with writers and museum curators was influenced by a complex web of tourism, rapid travel across the Mediterranean, and the march of modernity into a colonized culture. Orientalist Aesthetics shows how colonial policy affected aesthetics, how Europeans visualized cultural difference, and how indigenous artists in turn manipulated Western visual languages.
Unpaid Annotation
This is the first history of French Orientalist art in the era of high French modernism . It examines colonial art, critics, and art institutions across colonizing and indigenous cultures and how they were influenced by French Colonial policy.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Illustrationsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Orient or France? Nineteenth-Century Debatesp. 11
Renoir and Impressionist Orientalismp. 33
A Society for Orientalistsp. 57
Orientalists in the Public Eyep. 79
Colonial Panoramaniap. 105
Traveling Scholarships and the Academic Exoticp. 129
Matisse and Modernist Orientalismp. 159
Advancing the Indigenous Decorative Artsp. 191
Mammeri and Racim, Painters of the Maghrebp. 221
Colonial Museology in Algiersp. 249
Conclusionp. 275
Notes: Introductionp. 283
Selected Bibliographyp. 325
Indexp. 337
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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