14 Nov 2018
04 Mar 2019

GEORGES HENRI RIVIÈRE

MUCEM J4 - NIVEAU 2

The 19th century was a time of museums being founded, while the 20th century was that of their development, questioning, reinvention and often their redistribution. With its collections from the Museum at the Trocadero, the Museum of Man and the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, as well as the contemporary issues that it addresses, the Mucem embodies an essential part of this evolution thanks to the objects and ideas transmitted through it by one man: Georges Henri Rivière (1897-1985).

Taking the life of Georges Henri Rivière as the main thread of this story, the exhibition’s 30 or so sequences depict the scope of his personal relations and the breadth of his vision of a world in mid-transformation. It begins by painting a picture of the man: his background, his education and his role as an intermediary, up until the time when he – and all those whom he galvanized to join him – launched a veritable revolution in the world of museums, preceding and inspiring the context today.

Georges Henri Rivière was the son of a middle-class urban father and a rural mother. He decided on a career in music and, thanks to his uncle Henri Rivière (an entertainer at the Chat Noir cabaret), discovered the world of art collectors and scholars, but also the perspective of an artist in his element, friend of Degas, and remarkable engraver and photographer. His sister, Thérèse Rivière, followed him to the Trocadero, becoming an excellent ethnologist from her first assignment in the Aures with Germaine Tillon, a career that was destroyed by her descent into madness.

The exhibition portrays Rivière the musician, curious about every new thing from the Roaring Twenties, from modern art to jazz and fashion, and from photography and film to the music hall. A controversial journalist who contributed to the best magazines, Cahiers d’Art and Documents, he assumed a dominant role at the Museum at the Trocadero after curating his first exhibition in 1928 on Ancient American Art. A tireless intercessor and organizer of high-impact events, using foreign museums as his examples, he saw the Museum of Man, with its ethnographic collections, as an instrument for social and scientific exchanges, opened by the Popular Front during the 1937 World’s Fair.

Rivière understood that, over and above the ethnology of exotic cultures, there was a need to focus on the upheaval announced by the rural and working-class cultures of France, and so that same year he created a “museum of popular arts and traditions”. The museum’s evolution then unfolds through the exhibition, in the form of prefigurations of exhibitions, up until it opened its doors in 1972. All the while, Rivière remained close to the artists, Picasso, Léger and their patrons. Georges Henri Rivière explored and analysed craft expertise and the multiple facets of popular inventions, from imaging to circus arts. He revealed the strength, the beauty, the humour and the potential of a world that was thought to be a thing of the past.

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Marthe et Juliette Vesque Cirque Amar, Porte d’Auteuil, Paris, 27 février 1937 Dessin sur papier, 10,1 × 15,8 cm Mucem, Marseille © RMN-Grand Palais (MuCEM) / Franck Raux
Pichet anthropomorphe, Malicorne-sur-Sarthe, Allier, 1911 Pâte façonnée au tour, gravée et glaçurée, 29,5 × 19,5 × 18 cm Mucem, Marseille, don de GHR © Mucem / Yves Inchierman
Jean Amblard, La Forge d’Antoine Valleix, Puy-de-Dôme, 1944.  Enquête des techniques artisanales. Encre de Chine sur papier, 50 × 65 cm Mucem, Marseille ©ADAGP, Paris 2018 ; cliché © RMN-Grand Palais (MuCEM) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi
Affiche de l’exposition « Bretagne. Art populaire, ethnographie générale », Paris, MNATP, palais de Chaillot, 23 juin-23 septembre 1951 A. Lavaud (photographe), Mourlot Paris (imprimeur) Archives nationales, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine © Archives nationales, Pi
Georges Henri Rivère lisant la revue Muséum, 1975 Photographie J. Guillot © Mucem / J. Guillot (D.R.)
Vitrine présentant le buron de Chavestras dans la galerie culturelle du Musée national des Arts et Traditions populaires, 1975 Mucem, Marseille © RMN-Grand Palais (MuCEM) / Christian Jean
Affiche « Marionnettes populaires », 1968 Atelier populaire de l’ex-École des beaux-arts de Paris  Sérigraphie sur papier, 82 × 53,7 cm Mucem, Marseille © RMN-Grand Palais (MuCEM) / Franck Raux
Jean Dubuisson (architecte), Maquette du bâtiment du Musée national des Arts et Traditions Populaires, avant 1969 Bois contreplaqué, feutre, plexiglas, papier, métal, 38 × 51,8 × 121,6 cm (maquette), 19,6 × 36,3 × 103 cm (base) Mucem, Marseille © Successi
Bouquet de Saint-Éloi, enseigne de maréchal-ferrant, Saône-et-Loire, 1878 Fer forgé peint et riveté, 118 × 120 cm Mucem, Marseille © Mucem / Yves Inchierman
Le chaudronnier Jean Ferrand, dit Chausat, décrivant une potiche à lait à Georges Henri Rivière derrière l’église du village lors de la mission folklorique en Sologne, 1938 Photographie Louis Dumont Mucem, Marseille © Mucem / Louis Dumont
Chantiers Vandewalle, fin de grève, juin 1936 Photographie France Presse Mucem, Marseille Cliché © Mucem
La mosquée à minaret de Sidi Okba, Kébech, Ouled Abdherrahman, Algérie, 30 mars 1936 Dessin à la plume par Mohammed Seghir Tirhzert Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris, fonds Thérèse Rivière, DA001063 © Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac
Georges Seurat, Étude pour Un dimanche après-midi à l’île de la Grande Jatte , 1884 Huile sur bois, 15,5 × 25 cm Musée d’Orsay, Paris, don de Georges Henri et de Thérèse Rivière en 1948 © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
Fernand Léger, Le Cirque Médrano , 1918 Huile sur toile, 58 × 94,5 cm Paris, Centre Pompidou, Paris – Musée national d’art moderne / Centre de création industrielle Léger © ADAGP, Paris 2018 ; cliché © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d’Orsay) / Jean-Gilles Berizz
Henri Rivière, « En haut de la tour », Les Trente-Six Vues de la tour Eiffel, 1888-1902 Lithographie en couleur, 27 × 22,8 cm Musée d’Orsay, Paris Rivière © ADAGP, Paris 2018 ; cliché © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d’Orsay) / René-Gabriel Ojéda
André Masson, Portrait de Georges Henri Rivière , 1930 Pastel sur toile, 65 × 50 cm Centre Pompidou, Paris – Musée national d’art moderne / Centre de création industrielle Masson © ADAGP, Paris 2018 ; cliché © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Pa
Francis Picabia, L’Œil cacodylate , 1921 Huile sur toile et collage photographique, 148,6 × 117,4 cm Centre Pompidou, Paris – Musée national d’art moderne / Centre de création industrielle Picabia © ADAGP, Paris 2018 ; © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. R
Joséphine Baker et Georges Henri Rivière devant une vitrine de l’exposition sur la mission Dakar-Djibouti au musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro, 1933 Photographie Boris Lipnitzki Gélatine, négatif Mucem, Marseille © Studio Lipnitzki?
Masque funéraire, Culture Nazca, Pérou, 200 av. J.-C. – 600 ap. J.-C. Feuille d’or découpée et repoussée, 60 × 24,4 cm Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris, don de GHR © Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrick Gries
Affiche pour l’exposition « Bronzes et ivoires royaux du Bénin » du musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro, 1932 Jacques-André Boiffard (photographe), Lou Tchimoukow (graphiste) Sérigraphie, 60 × 40 cm Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, Paris
Statuette féminine liée à la société d’initiation du Jo (Jonyeleni) Culture Bamana, Mali, avant 1935 Bois, coton, perles, ficelle, métal, 64 × 15 × 12 cm Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris, don de GHR © musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Dis
Pablo Picasso, Pichet Le peintre et deux modèles, France, Vallauris, 1954.  Terre cuite, 26,5 x 23,5 x 18 cm Mucem, Marseille © MuCEM / Yves Inchierman © Succession Picasso 2018
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DOCUMENTATIONS
General information

MUCEM 
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13002 Marseille

  • Lower entrace, Fort Saint-Jean : 201, quai du Port
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  • J4 entrance: 1, esplanade du J4

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www.mucem.org

DIRECTION

General curator : Germain Viatte, conservator 
Associated curator : Marie-Charlotte Calafat, Assistant Manager of the MUCEM's Collections and Document Resource Department

CONTACT

Lola Véniel / 
lola@claudinecolin.com
Damien Laval / damien@claudinecolin.com


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