Charles Ratton was a 1930s art expert and collector who has played an important role in encouraging the recognition of ‘primative arts’ in the art world. In the early part of the 20th century, Ratton enjoyed a privileged place in close proximity to museums, where his expert opinion was often sought. In addition to his art knowledge, Ratton also possessed an intellectual curiosity for science, which served to inform his artistic tastes.
For these reasons, the merchant was able to help indigenous works from Africa, the Americas, and Oceania transform from objects of anthropological study to art objects in the 1930s. From that point on, they would then progress to being considered masterpieces in the 1960s, especially in France and the United States.
From June 25 until September 22, 2013, the Musée du Quai Branly will highlight the vision of this insightful art collector in an exhibition called ‘Charles Ratton, the Invention of the Primitive Arts.’ Ratton’s connection with the contemporary art movements of his time, such as surrealism, will also be emphasized. Such links provided the credibility that enabled Ratton to influence the art scene in the ways that he did.
The exhibit will allow visitors to discover the context and nuances of Charles Ratton’s tastes for both indigenous objects and more well-known art like surrealism. Unusual for the time, Ratton devoted his efforts to championing the former while the latter served merely as a hobby. Guests staying at the Hôtel de la Tour Maubourg can explore Ratton’s vision for themselves by visiting the Musée du Quai Branly, which is located just moments from their rooms.