Public Lectures

Chinoiserie and Japonisme: Continuity or Rupture

East-West Dialogue

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, American, 18641748, Oil on wood panel, 19.7 x 27 in.

Professor Petra Chu
Tuesday 10 March 2015
6-7pm

Law School LT 101
Sydney Law School
The University of Sydney


In traditional narratives of the Western engagement with Far-Eastern art, eighteenth-century Chinoiserie and nineteenth-century Japonism are seen as different episodes, separated not only by time but also by degree of intensity and understanding. Michael Sullivan, one of the originators of this narrative (The Meeting of Eastern and Western Art, 1973), contrast the “flirtation with the Orient” of Chinoiserie with the “real understanding of Oriental art” that, he argues, began during the last third of the nineteenth century with Japonisme and culminated in the twentieth century in the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock and Franz Kine. Chinoiserie had to degenerate and die, following Sullivan, before Japonisme could be born. For Sullivan’s narrative, I hope to substitute a more nuanced and complex one that underplays rupture but acknowledges that attitudes towards the Far East and Far-Eastern art evolved and changed in the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, based on, among other factors, political developments and changing international relations, altering possibilities of Asian travel; evolving patters of collecting; and the concept of the “period eye.”

Co-hosted with Sydney Ideas and the China Studies Centre.

Click here to register.

Prof Chu


Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Professor of Art History and Director of Graduate Studies in Museum Professions at Seton Hall University, is a renowned expert on nineteenth-century European art. She has published several books on Gustave Courbet and is author of the leading survey of nineteenth-century European art. She is visiting Australia as the recipient of an International Research Collaboration Award from the University of Sydney, and will be based in Sydney from 21 February and 21 March 2015, working with Professor Jennifer Milam on a project entitled ‘The Other Orient’.


Matisse and the Near East

Professor Petra Chu
Saturday 14 March 2015
2pm

National Gallery of Victoria
Melbourne


Please visit https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/program/matisse-and-the-near-east/ for full details and to book.

Co-sponsored by Sydney Intellectual History Network (SIHN).

In the course of his long career, the French artist Henri Matisse (1869-1954) repeatedly looked at non-Western art for inspiration. Japanese prints, Persian and Indian miniatures, Byzantine icons and mosaics, Chinese brush paintings and art theory, and textiles from across the world, all inspired him at one time or another. Among these varied exotic art forms, Far-Eastern art - Chinese and Japanese - played a unique part in the artist’s career, one coming at the beginning, the other at the end of his career. Both Chinese and Japanese art affected his approach to, and his thinking about, art. But while Japanese art shocked him into an entirely new way of thinking about the relation between representation and reality, Chinese art and, especially art theory, confirmed ideas about art that he had developed and nurtured in the course of fifty years.

Prof Chu


Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Professor of Art History and Director of Graduate Studies in Museum Professions at Seton Hall University, is a renowned expert on nineteenth-century European art. She has published several books on Gustave Courbet and is author of the leading survey of nineteenth-century European art. She is visiting Australia as the recipient of an International Research Collaboration Award from the University of Sydney, and will be based in Sydney from 21 February and 21 March 2015, working with Professor Jennifer Milam on a project entitled ‘The Other Orient’.