The Arts of Man turns 50

Fifty years ago, the Museum was installing the exhibition The Arts of Man (October 6, 1962-January 1, 1963). The exhibition was a major undertaking, including almost 500 objects and encompassing the entire museum. The exhibition attempted to “present in selective form representative art objects from all of the world’s major civilizations.” (The Arts of Man Press Release, 1962The Arts of Man was arranged chronologically, starting off with a facsimile of a segment of the paintings in the caves at Lascaux. The complex of caves, in southwestern France, are famous for their Paleolithic cave paintings, estimated to be over 17,000 years old.

Museum curator John Lunsford painted the Lascaux facsimile.

John Lunsford spoke about The Arts of Man and the Lascaux facsimile in an oral history conducted in 2002.

“The public response was overwhelmingly positive, and we may even have extended it a little bit—but obviously the bringing of it together was the big thing, and the entry piece was my reconstruction segment of the Lascaux cave paintings.  Barney [Delabano, exhibition designer] built the cave structure out of framing, canvas, and plaster.  And I got up on a scaffold… And I picked the famous long bull.  I’ll be immodest enough to say it wasn’t a bad facsimile.  It was very effective, and we kept it dimly lit—and it was the only ersatz thing in the whole show, everything else was real.”

Hillary Bober is the Digital Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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