Just 100 years ago, Max van Berchem (1863-1921) died of illness and exhaustion, days before his 58th birthday. This man known by only few in Geneva today, is the founding scholar of Arabic epigraphy, in other words the study of inscriptions in Arabic. The Musée d'art et d'histoire of Geneva (MAH) commemorates him with an exhibition Max van Berchem. L’aventure de l’épigraphie arabe (Max van Berchem. The adventure of Arabic epigraphy) highlighting the importance of his work towards the understanding of Muslim civilization and art at the beginning of the 20th century.
This presentation, in a gallery above the Salle des Armures, brings together a selection of art works from the Museum's collection as well as historical and documentary testimonies of Maxvan Berchem's life that proved an astounding scientific adventure. The close relationships between the MAH and the Max van Berchem Foundation since its creation in 1973 allowed this project to benefit from exceptional loans from the Foundation and the Bibliothèque de Genève. The latter inherited van Berchem's library as well as his scientific archives donated by his family in 1972. The Museum preserves a part of the scholar's collection, given by his widow in 1921.
The exhibition will open on April 16 and close on June 6, 2021.
On this date also, a biography by Charles Genequand, Max van Berchem. Un Orientaliste, is published by Droz. This text reviews the life of a man who described himself as an orientalist, showing his attachment to a field of study that no longer exists as such today.
A conference on Max van Berchem by prof. Charles Genequand will take place at the Musée d'art et d'histoire in Geneva on Thursday May 6, 2021. 6.30 p.m. Free registration at: https://billetterie.mahmah.ch/content#