Historical research has been at the forefront of the Musée d'Orsay’s identity since the very beginnings of the museum: while it is an art museum, its diverse collections showcase a time of political, economic, social, media, artistic revolutions. Building up on the legacy of this connection between history and art history in the aim of providing an account of this extraordinary period, the Musée d'Orsay has invited the historian Pierre Singaravélou to conceive the digital program “Les mondes numériques d'Orsay” (“The Digital Worlds of Orsay”), as a prelude to his research and lecture program “Les mondes d'Orsay” (“The Worlds of Orsay”, spring 2021), which offers to engage with the museum's collections in a global context.
Three times a week (on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) during the time of the second lockdown, Singaravélou will offer a new text on famous or unknown works, according to the method of world history. It therefore becomes clear that the great movements of history took place in a world that is much more connected than we thought - yesterday and today.
Pierre Singaravélou, Professor of History at King’s College London and the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, has mainly worked on the history of colonization and globalization in the 19th and 20th centuries. He recently published Pour une histoire des possibles (Towards a History of Possibilities, Seuil, 2016, with Q. Deluermoz), Tianjin Cosmopolis (Seuil, 2017), Le Monde vu d'Asie (The World Seen from Asia, Seuil, 2018), and co-edited with S. Venayre L'Histoire du Monde au XIXe siècle (The History of the World in the 19th century, Fayard, 2017) and Le Magasin du Monde (The Shop of the World, Fayard, 2020).
The actors, often veterans of the "Indian wars", replayed the great battles, magnifying the "Conquest of the West". They were immortalized here by an expert in ... medical photography, Albert Londe, director of the photographic laboratory at the Salpêtrière hospital, who was fond of anthropological curiosities.
This show strongly influenced Rosa Bonheur who was passionate about the Amerindians and drew the animals and troop members. She painted a portrait of Cody, for which she received as a thank you gift an “Indian” stage costume. She kept it preciously, as generations of fascinated children would do in the future.
For further information:
-Louis S. Warren, “Cody’s Last Stand: Masculine Anxiety, the Custer Myth, and the Frontier of Domesticity in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West”, Western Historical Quaterly, Spring, 2003, vol. 34, number 1, pp. 49-69
- Albert Londe. La Photographie moderne, catalogue d'exposition, Paris, Cripto, 1986.
- A. Gunthert, Albert Londe, coll. « Photo poche » no 82, Paris, Nathan, 1999.
- America's Best Female Sharpshooter: The Rise and Fall of Lillian Frances Smith by Julia Bricklin, University of Oklahoma Press, 2017.