The fine arts
in Ephemeral vistas
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Fine Art Palaces bristled with traditional aspects of civilization; they reminded urban dwellers of their pre-industrial heritage and of value systems vaguerised by modern life. At the 1924 Empire Exhibition, the Palace of Fine Art seemed to be genuinely confused as to its role, ultimately appearing as an arbitrary gathering of hand-made produce. Orientalism in fine art, as opposed to primitivism, owed little in the first instance to displays of North African and Eastern art at exhibitions. The European fine arts featured only incidentally at the last series of exhibitions held at South Kensington between 1883 and 1886. By 1893 it was clear America could emulate Europe in the quantity and scale of its fine art practice. Inspired probably by the foundation of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1876 and of museums in Boston and New York, the number of American artists of all kinds had increased remarkably.

Ephemeral vistas

The Expositions Universelles, Great Exhibitions and World’s Fairs, 1851–1939

Editor: Paul Greenhalgh

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