The phenomenon of 'Oriental rooms' in Central European residences, museums, and exhibitions, ca. 1850 to ca. 1930 - Historicity, materiality, aesthetics

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6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Virtual Event

About this event

Maximilian Hartmuth


In the Europe of the long 19th century, ‘Arab’ or ‘Turkish’ rooms were far from uncommon in residences of aristocracy and bourgeoisie. Interiors with (real or alleged) provenances in Islamic lands were also exhibited at museums and fairs. There, they purported to offer insight into an alien dwelling culture. Whereas some ‘rooms’ were shipped from Damascus or Cairo, others purported to be authentic takes on their style. Occasionally, an original and an original supplement became amalgamated. This paper will present findings of a recent conference and publication venture, conducted in the context of ERC project #758099. It brought together researchers and curators to ruminate about the place of Central Europe in this international phenomenon, bringing to light (again) several truly fascinating cases. I will survey some of these cases, discussed in greater detail in a volume (“Gezimmertes Morgenland [etc.]”) published this year, with additional reflections about patterns and logics of reception, design, and appropriation.

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