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Translocating Metropolitan Display Strategies in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Frederick Stibbert, Henri Moser, and their Orientalist Style Rooms

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In the nineteenth century, the display of Islamic art and furniture was not only integrated into ethnographic collections and international exhibitions, but also formed an essential part of the home of amateurs as well as of the political, social, and cultural elites. Private collections accounted for an important step towards the valorization and reception of Islamic art in the west. This article examines the display strategies of collections located at the crossroads between private and public space by closely examining two style rooms integrated in private museums – the Stibbert collection in Florence, Italy, and the Moser collection in Neuhausen, near Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Both collectors had first-hand experience of the Orient due to their travels, with Stibbert focusing on al-Andalus and Moser on Central Asia, which inspired them to build up extensive art collections. The examples illustrate the importance of transnational relations for the establishment and display of collections that re-contextualized objects by presenting them within seemingly authentic oriental atmospheres specifically created for this purpose.

Keywords: Edmond de Rothschild; Frederick Stibbert; Henri Moser; Islamic art; collectorship; private museum

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Zurich

Publication date: March 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA) is intended for those interested in urban design and planning, architecture, and landscape design in the historic Islamic world, encompassing the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, but also the more recent geographies of Islam in its global dimensions. The main emphasis is on detailed analysis of the practical, historical and theoretical aspects of architecture, with a focus on both design and its reception. The journal is also specifically interested in contemporary architecture and urban design in relation to social and cultural history, geography, politics, aesthetics, technology, and conservation. Spanning across cultures and disciplines, IJIA seeks to analyze and explain issues related to the built environment throughout the regions covered. The cross-cultural and interdisciplinary nature of this journal will significantly contribute to the knowledge in this field.

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