Paris 1937: Worlds on Exhibition

Hardcover | April 2, 1998

byJames D. Herbert

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This elegant and theoretically informed book, illustrated with forty-five photographs, explores the cultural significance of six exhibitions or new museum installations, all opening in Paris between mid-1937 and early 1938: the commercially oriented world's fair titled L'Exposition Internationale des Art et Techniques; the historical Musée des Monuments Français; the ethnographic Musée de l'Homme; two massive art retrospectives, one sponsored by the state of France and the other by the municipality of Paris; and L'Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme.James D. Herbert capitalizes on the proximity of these disparate exhibits to show how they competed with and yet also complemented one another in visually rendering the full scope of human accomplishment through time and across the globe. In this task, Herbert argues, they both succeeded and failed in interesting and productive ways. He asserts that the exhibitions projected and, in a sense, created (created precisely through the act of projection) the real world that they ostensibly only represented.In fact, Herbert argues, the exhibitions developed a particular sense of French national identity-one that, in managing to be at the same moment both inwardly focused and beneficently expansive, would present a vivid contrast to the growing German nationalism of the Third Reich. His epilogue takes a final look at these issues from the perspective of Jean Cocteau's 1950 film Orphée. A ground-breaking work in cultural history, Paris 1937, with its insightful examination of objects from a variety of fields, is a pioneering text in the field of visual studies.

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From the Publisher

This elegant and theoretically informed book, illustrated with forty-five photographs, explores the cultural significance of six exhibitions or new museum installations, all opening in Paris between mid-1937 and early 1938: the commercially oriented world's fair titled L'Exposition Internationale des Art et Techniques; the historical M...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.84 × 6.69 × 0.39 inPublished:April 2, 1998Publisher:Cornell University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801434947

ISBN - 13:9780801434945

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"Herbert's study is informed by astute critical analysis of texts and images associated with the diversity of Parisian exhibition during the wondrous, ominous year of 1937. His intellectual range opens the reader to one insight after another. Herbert shows himself to be as familiar with the medievalism of 1937 as with its Marxism, and, what is more, knows how to connect the two. This account of modern French culture at a critical moment is comprehensive while concise, both remarkably instructive and remarkably witty. It will be remembered."-Richard Shiff, Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art and Director, Center for the Study of Modernism, University of Texas