Tuesday, September 8, 2020

From the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro Collection (1875-1899)

The Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro (Ethnographic Museum of the Trocadéro, also called simply the Musée du Trocadéro) was the first anthropological museum in Paris, founded in 1878.
The museum closed in 1935 when the building that housed it, the Trocadéro Palace, was demolished; its descendant is the Musée de l'Homme, housed in the Palais de Chaillot on the same site, and its French collections formed the nucleus of the Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires, also in the Palais de Chaillot.
The primary museographic purpose of the institution was to show the continuing progress of humanity.
Numerous modern artists visited it and were influenced by its "primitive" art, in particular Picasso during the period when he was working on Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907).
The museum held a collection of primitive masks from various areas of the world; Picasso said that he discovered in the African masks "what painting was all about", seeing them as having been created "as a kind of mediation between [humanity] and the unknown hostile forces that [surround us]" and to have been influenced by the masks in the forms of the figures in his proto-Cubist painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which eventually led to Cubism. 
Later, during the reform era under Rivet and Rivière that began in 1928, certain Surrealists aligned themselves with the ethnologists in promoting a view of objects within their social and human context, rather than from a purely aesthetic perspective.

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