CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


NOTH, Juliane
Positioning Chinese Painting in the 1930s: Translation and Revision in National Painting Monthly

Session 7 Translation and Change

Universität Berlin


National Painting Monthly (Guohua yuekan), the mouthpiece of the Chinese Painting Association (Zhongguo huahui) published between 1934 and 1935, featured contributions on painting history, theory and art education; these were for the most part written by members of the Chinese Painting Association, who were active as painters themselves. My paper discusses how the authors positioned the practice, the history, and the theories of Chinese ink painting within a global context. As repeatedly stated by the editors, they saw their medium in a state of decline and perceived the necessity to strengthen it conceptually and formally in order for it to persist in a globalizing modern world. Their endeavor to define a form of painting that reflected “national characteristics” as well as “the spirit of our age” culminated in a special issue that compared Chinese and European landscape painting. Contributions to the special issue translated, re-interpreted and revised artistic concepts derived from European modernity to describe Chinese painting, resulting in a rewriting of the histories of Chinese and European painting alike. My analysis sheds light on the formation of the seemingly traditionalist and “national” medium of modern Chinese ink painting within the context of transnational intellectual discourses. 

NOTH, Juliane

Juliane Noth is Principle Investigator of the DFG (German Science Foundation) research project “Landscape, canon, and intermediality in Chinese painting of the 1930s and 1940s” at the Art History Department of Freie Universität Berlin. In her current book project, she studies how premodern practices, theories and traditions of Chinese painting were re-invented during the Republican era (1911–1949) in order to reconcile them with modern concepts of art. A second focus lies on the implications that the technical innovations of modernity, such as travel by train, car or steamboat, and the medium of photography, had on the practices of traditionalist landscape painting. She has also published on the art and visual culture of Mao-era China, especially of the Cultural Revolution period. She is the author of Landschaft und Revolution. Die Malerei von Shi Lu (Berlin 2009), and co-editor of several edited volumes, including The Itineraries of Art. Topographies of Artistic Mobility in Europe and Asia, with Karin Gludovatz and Joachim Rees (Paderborn 2015); Huang Binhong yu xiandai yishu sixiangshi (Huang Binhong and the Evolution of Modern Ideas in Art), with Kong Lingwei (Hangzhou 2014); and Negotiating Difference. Chinese Contemporary Art in the Global Context, with Birgit Hopfener, Franziska Koch and Jeong-hee Lee-Kalisch (Weimar 2012).