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Charles Ratton and the Invention of the Modern "Tribal Art" Market with John Warne Monroe

Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 6:30 PM

Running Time: 1 hour

 

The present-day market for historical African, Oceanic and Native American art is distinctive.  In its general aesthetic approach, it relies heavily on the norms and values that govern the market for modern and contemporary art; its conception of authenticity and approach to connoisseurship, in contrast, derive from the antiques trade.  This unique mixture first emerged in Paris between the two world wars, and took on the form it retains to this day thanks to the innovative commercial strategies the noted dealer Charles Ratton developed between 1927 and 1939.  This lecture will explore this pivotal decade of Ratton s career by focusing on the various ways he marketed historical African sculpture both in France and in the United States.  As we will see, Ratton s success as a trans-Atlantic promoter of African sculpture does much to explain why Paris continues to remain the capital of the  tribal art  world.

John Warne Monroe teaches European cultural history at Iowa State University.  He is author of two books, including Metropolitan Fetish: African Sculpture and the Imperial French Invention of Primitive Art, which will be out in September 2019.

There will be a small reception in the lower level lobby outside of the boardroom starting at 6pm.

Image Courtesy of the Speaker.

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