Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Madeleine Giteau - curator of history

Madeleine Giteau left a rich body of scholarly work including publications on Khmer sculpture and iconography and the art of Laos, when she died in February 2005, aged eighty-six. She was a prominent member of the Ecole Francaise de l'Extreme-Orient (EFEO) - the French institute dedicated to the study of Asian societies - and was the last French curator of Cambodia's National Museum (known as the Albert Sarraut Museum) in Phnom Penh for a ten-year period from 1956. In 1963 she also took on the re-organisation of the Wat Po Veal and the Provincial Museums in Battambang. On leaving the curatorship in 1966, she took over as the head of archaeology at the Royal University of Fine Arts before the political upheavals in 1970 saw her return to France.

Giteau spent the next fifteen years as a senior professor at universities in France including the Sorbonne before resuming her studies in Cambodia, publishing three more books on Angkor and Laos, before her death last year. She was in fact the last in a long line of French explorers, curators and scholars who have each made invaluable contributions to Khmer history, art and archaeology that include: Henri Mouhot, Louis Delaporte, Etienne Aymonier, Lunet de Lajonquiere, Henri Marchal, Maurice Glaize, George Coedes, George Groslier, Henri Parmentier, Philippe Stern, Louis Finot, Jean Boisselier and Jean Boulbet.

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