Of Networks And Narratives: Collecting Indian Art In America, 1907-1972
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Beginning in the early 20th century, art museums in America were among the first to collect and display Indian objects as fine art. Although the appreciation of the aesthetic value of Indian art in colonial India took place in the wake of burgeoning nationalism, parallel developments in framing Indian art, albeit with differing impetuses were taking place in America. The aim of this dissertation is therefore to unpack the ways in which Indian objects were placed within the American art museum, and how such framings contributed in specific ways to the contouring of the field of Indian art beyond the nation. A history of the transnational, cosmopolitan networks along which individuals, objects and ideas traveled, that underpinned this process is therefore recovered, while the shifts in the contours of the field during different historical periods within the 20th century are also traced. The dissertation focuses on key individuals and their collections of Indian art in America in the period between 1907 to 1972, in order to track and analyze how Indian objects were variously accorded value in aesthetic, monetary, cultural and art historical terms.
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