In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector’s items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones.
Black Models and White Myths examines the tendentious racial assumptions behind representations of Africans that emphasized the contrast between “civilization” and “savagery” and the development of so-called scientific and ethnographic racism. These works often depicted Africans within a context of sexuality and exoticism, representing their allegedly natural behavior as a counterpoint to inhibited European conduct.
A fascinating story of the changing image of Africa’s people in Western art. The images are simply extraordinary and the scholarship inspiring. Anyone who cares about Western art or about Africa and her diaspora ought to know these magnificent volumes.
In addition to being an indispensable guide to the evolving meanings of racial difference, these dazzling volumes filled with extraordinary images and rich arguments contribute to an alternative history of the Western world. An invaluable gift for both specialists and general readers.
The Image of the Black in Western Art [is] a truly epic project… The series, scheduled for completion in 2014, is, so far, as eye-opening to view as it is to read and, one volume at a time, could be the answer to gift gifting for several years to come.
- 384 pages
- Belknap Press
- Associate editor Karen C. C. Dalton
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