A view of the Other

The history of European views of Africa, America and Oceania

A view of the Other is dedicated to the successive visions that Europeans entertained of the cultures of Africa, America and Oceania. This programme is a pretext for setting the relativity of our views in perspective, by means of a few thematic series, as we embark on a new museum. Rather than looking a back at the future, this catalogue (and the exhibition which gave rise to it) marks a point of departure.

From the Renaissance to today, the ‘idols of the savages’, ‘the tools of primitive man’, ‘primitive fetishes’, ‘Negro sculptures’ and ‘first arts’ bore witness to taste and distaste, and revealed reflections on otherness.  The originality of this publication lies in this historical depth, which allows these artefacts to be inserted within a broader history of art.

The Quai Branly Museum’s reference point is not only the products of other cultures that witness to their first contacts with Europe, but also the European artefacts among which they were disseminated. Thus the catalogue shows, in of a series of remarkable chapters, how European views progressively admitted other products, passing, for instance, from astonished curiosity to systematic classifications, from evolutionist aberrations to images of the universal.  

Through these pages, the reader goes on a voyage in King Charles V’s Nef, past the Ecouen Museum’s treasure, portraits of Indians painted in 1637 for the Prince of Nassau’s palace, the Hapsburg’s flagons of rhinoceros horn, a pre-Columbian mask in turquoise mounted in silver gilt by the Medici, the afro-Portuguese ivories of the 16th century, the mourner’s costume from Tahiti that Captain Cook brought back, a mysterious crystal skull, the snake charmer by Douanier Rousseau, a Punu mask that Picasso obtained in 1908, and Man Ray’s Black and White…



352 pages in 25.80 cm x 28.5 cm format

420 colour illustrations

price : 49 €

isbn 2-915133-32-8 / 2-7118-5219-9

Co-published by musée du quai Branly/Réunion des musées nationaux

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exhibition curator

Yves Le Fur, director of Heritage and Collections, in charge of the permanent collections, Quai Branly Museum


Zeno Bianu, Monique Jeudy-Ballini, Adrienne Kaeppler, Maureen Murphy, Pascal Riviale, Nanette Snoep, Claude Stefani, and Françoise Viatte.

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