head of Shiva from the temple on Phnom Bok, relocated to France by Louis Delaporte|
News that a new exhibition of Khmer art treasures that will be hosted at the Guimet Museum in Paris, in Birth of a Myth - Louis Delaporte and Cambodia
and which opens 16 October (til mid-January 2014), is sure to raise the hackles of some as Khmer art and its provenance is a hot topic currently, with the Sotheby's case still at court. For this exhibition, casts of statues, reliefs and temple decorations, which were made between 1870 and the late 1920s and commissioned by
Frenchman Louis Delaporte, will be on show, alongside original Khmer art plus old photographs, watercolours and original drawings. Delaporte joined the 1866-1868 Mekong expedition, where his detailed drawings were an inspiration and a few years later he masterminded a collection of statues, reliefs and architectural
pieces found in the Angkor ruins to be appropriated and sent back to France. Many of these pieces are on permanent display at the Guimet. At the
same time, he commissioned the casts. The casts were subsequently forgotten and abandoned and are coming out of storage for this exhibition. 250 works will encompass the display. Even though the Guimet is overflowing with Khmer treasures, don't expect any of them to be
winging their way back home anytime soon. Perhaps they'll send over some of the casts instead.
Labels: Birth of a Myth, Guimet Museum, Louis Delaporte