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Art History and Anthropology: Modern Encounters, 1870–1970

Available December 2023

Edited by Peter Probst and Joseph Imorde

An in-depth and nuanced look at the complex relationship between two dynamic fields of study.

While today we are experiencing a revival of world art and the so-called global turn of art history, encounters between art historians and anthropologists remain rare. Even after a century and a half of interactions between these epistemologies, a skeptical distance prevails with respect to the disciplinary other. This volume is a timely exploration of the roots of this complex dialogue, as it emerged worldwide in the colonial and early postcolonial periods, between 1870 and 1970.

Exploring case studies from Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, and the United States, this volume addresses connections and rejections between art historians and anthropologists—often in the contested arena of “primitive art.” It examines the roles of a range of figures, including the art historian-anthropologist Aby Warburg, the modernist artist Tarsila do Amaral, the curator-impresario Leo Frobenius, and museum directors such as Alfred Barr and René d’Harnoncourt. Entering the current debates on decolonizing the past, this collection of essays prompts reflection on future relations between these two fields.

Peter Probst is professor of art history and anthropology at Tufts University in Boston. Joseph Imorde is professor of art history at the Kunsthochschule Weissensee, Berlin.

272 pages
7 x 10 inches
51 color and 31 b/w illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-879-3

Getty Publications
Imprint: Getty Research Institute
Series: Issues & Debates