Marius Barbeau was one of the leading pioneers in the fields of anthropology and folk culture. He was also deeply rooted into collecting music also including his own. In this essay I will give a brief biography of Barbeau and how his career began, his song collections, journals, and books, and how modernist painters influenced his studies as a researcher in anthropology.
To begin, Barbeau was born on March 5th 1883 in Saint-Marie Quebec. He attended Laval College to earn a degree in Law and later attended Oxford University in 1907 and received a Rhodes scholarship. After earning his degree in Law he developed new interests which led him to change his major to anthropology. He accomplished his first music studies as a child with his mother and later studied classical music at the College de Ste-Anne-de-la-Pocatière. In 1910, Barbeau joined Canada’s National Museum as an anthropologist and ethnologist. The first project Barbeau researched was the native peoples of eastern Canada. Throughout time, this research expanded and included all of the native peoples of Canada. In 1910 he won a Rhodes scholarship and Oxford University awarded him the B.Sc degree and diploma in anthropology for his thesis ‘The totemic Systems of the North Western tribes of North American’. When he returned to Canada he was chosen as an anthropologist to the National Museum of Canada then The Museum Branch of the Geological Survey of Canada in 1911 where he continued to work until his retirement in 1949.
Furthermore, in 1911 he began recording on Edison wax cylinders on a Huron Indian reserve near Quebec. Barbeau continued his research with the Huron’s for three years. He grew interest in the mythology of other tribes after visiting the Iroquois a...
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....she set her heart upon expressing her surroundings in paint, after she had come back from the art schools abroad. While the spell was on her, from 1910 to 1912, she filled her studio with hundreds of sketches and canvases illustrative of Indian life and art and wild landscape."
There were a number of exhibitions for art galleries, museums and world expositions in which Barbeau had organized such as the Canada building center at the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris. Here, he would hang up modern paintings, grand geographical and historical summaries as a “background” to legalize his exhibition of indigenous and folk material cultures.
In summary, this essay has shown that Barbeau was truly a pioneer as an ethnologist and collector and that modernist painters and indigenous cultures have had a tremendous influence and brought great success to his life and career.