Ernst Grosse: European Reception Of Aboriginal Art

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European reception of Aboriginal art has long been regarded as problematic in contemporary art historical discourse. Academics seem to agree upon the fact that 19th and early 20th centuries transfused with Western colonial and evolutionist ideals, marked a total disregard to or denial of Aboriginal art, while, in turn, the postmodernism re-evaluated and incorporate it within the context of global and interdisciplinary approach. However, recent scholarly research on Ernst Grosse’s book The Beginnings of Art and a number of other authors has shown that this view has, in fact, been false, as these accounts present a global perspective on art and aesthetics in both space and time and recognises the artistic merit of Aboriginal visual expression . Questions about why has Grosse’s work have been overlooked in historiography of art studies up until now and how does it correspond to the current debate in regard to Aboriginal art consequently might be asked. Wilfred van Damme in his research has cautiously concluded with one possible reason to the minimal reception that Grosse’s work has received in art historical discourse of its contemporaries. The author has argued that as early 20th century marked the rise of primitivism in Western art that was going against the academic naturalism, Grosse’s account that was…show more content…
The existence of this source in itself confronts the stark differences historians appoint to colonial and post-colonial period, as Grosse’s work seems to skip over to the future. Moreover, it makes one wonder about the possibilities it might open up, such as perhaps re-evaluation of the ‘postcolonial’ inclusion of Aboriginal art and reassessment of Grosse’s non-temporal unifying
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