Date of Submission

Spring 2022

Academic Program

Art History; Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literature

Project Advisor 1

Laurie Dahlberg

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Les six continents series stands as remnants of the 1878 Exposition Universelle and as a visual marker of the cultural, social, and economic culture of the time period. The series, serving as public art, continues to inform and participate in its environment and space, as it is on display by the entrance of the Musée d’Orsay today. Personified representations of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, and Oceania as allegorical female figures, the series offers insight into the colonial world where it emerged, and how its impact has visually been ingrained in contemporary society. By using these six statues as a case study, this paper examines how public sculpture at the 1878 world's fair provided a permanent alternative to the ephemeral cases of human display popular at other 19th century fairs and thereby perpetuated a more durable image of an ambiguous, sexualized, non-white, ethnic “other” in Europe into the 20th and 21st centuries.

Senior Project submitted to The Division of Arts of Bard College.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

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