Orientalist Aesthetics: Art, Colonialism, and French North Africa, 1880-1930 / Edition 1

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"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520222175
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 2/3/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 373
  • Sales rank: 1,176,085
  • Lexile: 1590L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger Benjamin has been appointed Power Professor of Art History and Visual Culture and Director of the Power Institute at the University of Sydney. He is author of Orientalism: Delacroix to Klee (1997), Matisse's "Notes of a Painter": Criticism, Theory, and Context (1987), the forthcoming title, Renoir and Algeria, and winner of the Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize of the CAA for his article "The Decorative Landscape, Fauvism, and the Arabesque of Observation" (1993).
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction 1
1 Orient or France? Nineteenth-Century Debates 11
2 Renoir and Impressionist Orientalism 33
3 A Society for Orientalists 57
4 Orientalists in the Public Eye 79
5 Colonial Panoramania 105
6 Traveling Scholarships and the Academic Exotic 129
7 Matisse and Modernist Orientalism 159
8 Advancing the Indigenous Decorative Arts 191
9 Mammeri and Racim, Painters of the Maghreb 221
10 Colonial Museology in Algiers 249
Conclusion 275
Notes 283
Selected Bibliography 325
Index 337
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