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National and Colonial: The Musée des Colonies at the Colonial Exposition, Paris, 1931

Patricia A. Morton
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 80, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 357-377
Published by: College Art Association
DOI: 10.2307/3051237
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3051237
Page Count: 21
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National and Colonial: The Musée des Colonies at the Colonial Exposition, Paris, 1931
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Abstract

Albert Laprade's Musée des Colonies was the only permanent building at the 1931 Colonial Exposition in Paris. As a monument to both the French colonial empire and to France itself, the museum posed a difficult problem for its architect. Laprade solved this conundrum by using the museum's architecture to represent the metropolitan side of the empire and the sculptural and decorative programs to portray the colonies, thereby reinforcing both colonial and Beaux-Arts representational hierarchies. This paper analyzes this dichotomy in terms of the aesthetic hierarchy of architecture over the decorative arts and the racial hierarchy of France over its colonies.

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