Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display

Ivan Karp - 1991
    The contributors—museum directors, curators, and scholars in art history, folklore, history, and anthropology—represent a variety of stances on the role of museums and their function as intermediaries between the makers of art or artifacts and the eventual viewers.

Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum

Jason Felch - 2011
    The monetary value is estimated at over half a billion dollars. Why would they be moved to such unheard-of generosity? The answer lies at the Getty, one of the world’s richest and most troubled museums, and scandalous revelations that it had been buying looted antiquities for decades. Drawing on a trove of confidential museum records and frank interviews, Felch and Frammolino give us a fly-on-the-wall account of the inner workings of a world-class museum and tell the story of the Getty’s dealings in the illegal antiquities trade. The outlandish characters and bad behavior could come straight from the pages of a thriller—the wealthy recluse founder, the cagey Italian art investigator, the playboy curator, the narcissist CEO—but their chilling effects on the rest of the art world have been all too real, as the authors show in novelistic detail. Fast-paced and compelling, Chasing Aphrodite exposes the layer of dirt beneath the polished façade of the museum business.

The General: Charles De Gaulle And The France He Saved

Jonathan Fenby - 2010
    This is a magisterial, sweeping biography of one of the great leaders of the 20th century - General Charles De Gaulle.

Civilizing Rituals: Inside Public Art Museums

Carol Duncan - 1995
    Illustrated with over fifty photos, Civilizing Rituals merges contemporary debates with lively discussion and explores central issues involved in the making and displaying of art as industry and how it is presented to the community.Carol Duncan looks at how nations, institutions and private individuals present art, and how art museums are shaped by cultural, social and political determinants.Civilizing Rituals is ideal reading for students of art history and museum studies, and professionals in the field will also find much of interest here.

The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography from the Revolution to the First World War

Graham Robb - 2007
    Even in the age of railways and newspapers, France was a land of ancient tribal divisions, prehistoric communication networks, and pre-Christian beliefs. French itself was a minority language.Graham Robb describes that unknown world in arresting narrative detail. He recounts the epic journeys of mapmakers, scientists, soldiers, administrators, and intrepid tourists, of itinerant workers, pilgrims, and herdsmen with their millions of migratory domestic animals. We learn how France was explored, charted, and colonized, and how the imperial influence of Paris was gradually extended throughout a kingdom of isolated towns and villages.The Discovery of France explains how the modern nation came to be and how poorly understood that nation still is today. Above all, it shows how much of France—past and present—remains to be discovered.

Louis XIV

Olivier Bernier - 1987
    His court at the Palace of Versailles became the most dazzling on the Continent, and through his intelligence and cunning, he made France the leading power of Europe. Now, in this masterful biography, historian Olivier Bernier brilliantly recreates Louis XIV's world to reveal the secrets of this monarch's unequaled sovereignty and to explore the singular mystique that surrounds him today. Not only was Louis heir to his father's throne, he felt he was divinely chosen to rule France. From the year he became king at the age of thirteen, he oversaw every aspect of government, from waging war and making political appointments to supervising the building of his many palaces. Along with political treachery that marked Louis XIV's long reign, Bernier also brings to light the personal scandals. We witness the poignant resignation of Louis XIV's queen to her husband's parade of mistresses and illegitimate children, the infamous intrigue when the king's brother was accused of poisoning his wife in a jealous rage, and the momentous building of Versailles, not an act of monstrous self-indulgence that bankrupted the nation but the visible expression of Louis XIV's new monarchy - his ingenious methods of centering all activity around court life, thus preventing his courtiers from fomenting rebellion. Under the Sun King, architecture, painting, music, and theater flourished, making France not only a great political force but a paradigm of fashion and culture as well. Louis XIV takes us from the grandeur of Versailles to the battlefields of the countryside, from the bedrooms of the king's mistresses to the chambers of his ministers, and presents an engrossing portrait of royal life and a commanding leader.

Paintings in the Louvre

Lawrence Gowing - 1994
    Superbly reproduced in full color, here are all of the most important paintings in the Louvre. The works of the great French masters - which amount to over half of the collection - are well represented, with paintings by Poussi, Fragonard, David, Gericault, Delacroix, Ingres, and Corot, to name only a few. The Mona Lisa is included, together with a good selection of Leonardo da Vinci's other paintings. Many other great Italian masterpieces are reproduced - from the early gilded panels of Giotto to altarpieces by Fra Angelico, from frescoes by Botticelli to canvases by Veronese, Titian, Tintoretto, and their successors. Here too are fine examples from the Flemish, Dutch, German, English, and Spanish schools, including Bosch, Durer, Vermeer, Turner, and El Greco.

Paris Reborn: Napoléon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Quest to Build a Modern City

Stephane Kirkland - 2013
    The Louvre Palace was expanded, Notre-Dame Cathedral was restored and the French masterpiece of the Second Empire, the Opéra Garnier, was built. A very large part of what we see when we visit Paris today originates from this short span of twenty-two years.The vision for the new Nineteenth Century Paris belonged to Napoleon III, who had led a long and difficult climb to absolute power. But his plans faltered until he brought in a civil servant, Georges-Eugène Haussmann, to take charge of the implementation. Heedless of controversy, at tremendous cost, Haussmann pressed ahead with the giant undertaking until, in 1870, his political enemies brought him down, just months before the collapse of the whole regime brought about the end of an era.Paris Reborn is a must-read for anyone who ever wondered how Paris, the city universally admired as a standard of urban beauty, became what it is.

Landscape and Memory

Simon Schama - 1995
    He tells of the Nazi cult of the primeval German forest; the play of Christian and pagan myth in Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers; and the duel between a monumental sculptor and a feminist gadfly on the slopes of Mount Rushmore. The result is a triumphant work of history, naturalism, mythology, and art. "A work of great ambition and enormous intellectual scope...consistently provocative and revealing."--New York Times"Extraordinary...a summary cannot convey the riches of this book. It will absorb, instruct, and fascinate."--New York Review of Books

Eiffel's Tower and the World's Fair: Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count

Jill Jonnes - 2009
    But as engineer Gustave Eiffel built the now-famous landmark to be the spectacular centerpiece of the 1889 World's Fair, he stirred up a storm of vitriol from Parisian tastemakers, lawsuits, and predictions of certain structural calamity. In Eiffel's Tower, Jill Jonnes, critically acclaimed author of Conquering Gotham, presents a compelling account of the tower's creation and a superb portrait of Belle Epoque France. As Eiffel held court that summer atop his one-thousand-foot tower, a remarkable host of artists and personalities-Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Gauguin, Whistler, and Edison-traveled to Paris and the Exposition Universelle to mingle and make their mark. Like The Devil in the White City, Brunelleschi's Dome, and David McCullough's accounts of the building of the Panama Canal and the Brooklyn Bridge, Eiffel's Tower combines technological and social history and biography to create a richly textured portrayal of an age of aspiration, dreams, and progress.

Making Museums Matter

Stephen E. Weil - 2002
    Also included in this collection are reflections on the special qualities of art museums, an investigation into the relationship of current copyright law to the visual arts, a detailed consideration of how the museums and legal system of the United States have coped with the problem of Nazi-era art, and a series of delightfully provocative training exercises for those anticipating entry into the museum field.

Portrait of a Woman in White

Susan Winkler - 2014
    Nazi forces march towards Paris. Lili Rosenswig's wealthy and eccentric family is ensconced in their country chateau with their sumptuous collection of arts and antiques. The beloved Matisse portrait of Lili's mother has been brought from their Paris salon for safety. It is the day before young lovers Lili and Paul are to be married that they are forced to flee and their fortunes change irrevocably. Lili and her family escape but Paul must stay behind to defend his country. In their struggle to adapt to changing circumstances in an unpredictable world, all are pushed to reinvent themselves. When top Nazi Herman Goring loots their Matisse portrait, their story is intertwined with the fate of the painting. PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN IN WHITE is a moving family saga, an obsessive search for lost love and lost art and how far we will go to survive.

Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie - 1975
    When Jacquest Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers, launched an elaborate Inquisition to stamp them out, the peasants & shepherds he interrogated revealed, along with their position on official Catholicism, many details of their everyday life. Basing his absorbing study on these vivid, carefully recorded statements of peasants who lived more than 600 years ago--Pierre Clergue, the powerful village priest & shameless womanizer is even heard explaining his techniques of seduction--eminent historian Le Roy Ladurie reconstructs the economy & social structure of the community & probes the most intimate aspects of medieval life: love & marriage, gestures & emotions, conversations & gossip, clans & factions, crime & violence, concepts of time & space, attitudes to the past, animals, magic & folklore, death & beliefs about the other world.

A Worldly Art: The Dutch Republic, 1585-1718

Mariet Westermann - 1996
    Now back in print, this classic book (originally published in 1996) examines the country’s rich artistic culture in the seventeenth century, providing a full account of Dutch artists and patrons; artistic themes and techniques; and the political and social world in which artists worked.Distinguished art historian Mariët Westermann examines the “worldly art” of this time in the context of the unique society that produced it, analyzing artists’ choices and demonstrating how their pictures tell particular stories about the Dutch Republic, its people, and its past. More than 100 color illustrations complement this engaging discussion of an extraordinary moment in the history of art.

The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art

Hector Feliciano - 1997
    The Lost Museum tells the story of the Jewish art collectors and gallery owners in France who were stripped of rare works by artists such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas, Cézanne, and Picasso. Before they were through, the Nazis had taken more than 20,000 paintings, sculptures, and drawings from France.The Lost Museum explores the Nazis' systematic confiscation of these artworks, focusing on the private collections of five families: Rothschild, Rosenberg, Bernheim-Jeune, David-Weill, and Schloss. The book is filled with private family photos of this art, some of which has never before been seen by the public, and it traces the fate of these works as they passed through the hands of top German officials, unscrupulous art dealers, and unwitting auction houses such as Christie's and Sotheby's.