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"C'est bien comme cela que l'on s'imagine un beau monument de l'Orient" : Louis Delaporte et l'art khmer (1866-1924)

Abstract : Louis Delaporte is an underrated character in the history of the study of Khmer art in France. Between his first travel to the Khmer ruins, in 1873, and his resignation from the Musée indochinois du Trocadéro, in 1924, he held, however, a central position in the archeology of Southeast Asia. This thesis provides a first insight into the work undertaken by Delaporte to make Khmer art renowned, and provide a collection of art works meant to be the basis of its study. Unpublished sources (family letters, working papers kept by the Delaporte family and the musée Guimet) help relate Louis Delaporte’s career, from his first visit to Angkor, in 1866, to the development of the Musée indochinois du Trocadéro, between 1884 and 1924. If the focus of Delaporte’s work on Khmer art is born of fortuitous circumstances (his first travel to the Khmer ruins was designed to be the inital step of a broader exploration trip to Tonkin), he however developed a conscious strategy to ensure the works of art he brought back became prominent in French scientific circles. Thanks to the creation of a vast network, in the administration as well as in scientific circles, Louis Delaporte became, in the 1880s, a key character in the study of Khmer monuments. Due to his lack of knowledge, however, Delaporte never succeded in becoming the spearhead of Khmer archeology, and focused instead more on the development of a collection designed to become, in France, essential to whoever had an interest in Khmer archeology.
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Julie Philippe. "C'est bien comme cela que l'on s'imagine un beau monument de l'Orient" : Louis Delaporte et l'art khmer (1866-1924). Histoire. Paris, Ecole nationale des chartes, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015ENCP0002⟩. ⟨tel-01937791⟩

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