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Chair for Modern Art HistoryLes frères Humboldt

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Humboldt exhibition in Paris


Curated by:

Bénédicte Savoy and David Blankenstein, TU Berlin


Observatoire de Paris
61 avenue de l’Observatoire
75014 PARIS


May 15 - July 11 2014

Opening hours: Monday - Saturday, 12:00 h bis 18:00 h.

Supported by:

Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University (PSL), vertreten durch ihre Präsidentin Monique Canto-Sperber in Zusammenarbeit mit Michel Espagne und dem LabEx TransferS

President of the scientific advisory board:

Marc Fumaroli, de l’Académie française

About the project


For the first time in the history of Humboldt exhibitions, the brothers’ presence in the French capital is being analyzed in depth. Lenders include the Bibliothèque nationale, the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, the Institut de France, the Louvre, the Archives nationales, the archives of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Paris Observatory, and the Quai Branly Museum; they are all home to moving testimonies to the life and impact of the Humboldts, showing us just how far ahead they were of their times, and indeed of ours. The exhibition includes scientific instruments, artifacts from America that are of relevance for natural history and ethnography, manuscripts in many languages, translations, drawings, and even series of letters exchanged between the brothers and private objects that belonged to them. The exhibition is explicitly based on both brothers, whose brotherliness in post-revolutionary Europe was also of symbolic relevance.

Press pack (french)

Exhibition catalogue


Les frères Humboldt. L'Europe de l'esprit

Eds.: Bénédicte Savoy, David Blankenstein

Editions Jean-Pierre de Monza, Paris

2014, 177 p.
28 x 22 cm

With contributions by: Marc Fumaroli, Monique Canto-Sperber, Hanns Zischler, Ernst Osterkamp, Ottmar Ette, Markus Messling, Jürgen Trabant, Michel Espagne, Eberhard Knobloch, Bénédicte Savoy, David Blankenstein

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