CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

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HOWALD, Christine
"Approaching the “Other”. The French Market for Chinese Art (19th-20th century) "

Session 16 Commodity and Market

Technische   Universität Berlin
  Institut für Kunstwissenschaft 
  und Historische Urbanistik /
  Forum Kunst und Markt


The forced opening of East Asia in the mid-nineteenth century gave for the first time access to an enormous market of original art treasures and set off a wildfire of Asia euphoria in the West where a flurry of collecting and dealership in art objects quickly developed. This paper will outline the emergence and development of this new market. By taking the example of Paris, leading market metropolis of the time, it will highlight the key moments of the development, its central figures and the focus of the trading activities in the second half of 19th, beginning of 20th century. In the centre of the paper are the questions: What kind of objects did the actors of the market sell and buy at what time? And to what extent was the development of the market influenced by individual encounters, national interests, political and social changes or technological developments? The paper provides a first approach to a newly developing transnational market that involved both, actors from Europe as well as from East Asia. They all influenced the Western engagement with the art of the Far East, providing access to the artworks and thus leaving a lasting mark on the character of our East Asian art collections.


 HOWALD, Christine

Christine Howald studied History, French and Architecture at Berlin Technical University where she completed her PhD in History with a study on the interdependence between the art patronage and the political career of Nicolas Fouquet (1615-1680) in 2007. She then moved to Beijing where she worked for the Cultural Section of the German Embassy. From 2010 on, she was a visiting scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing with a project on European entertainment culture in the concessions of late Qing dynasty. Since 2014, Christine works at the Institute of Fine Arts and Historical Urbanistics at Berlin Technical University. Her research interests lie in the area of international art market studies, collecting history and provenance research with a focus on East Asia. Her current project emphases on the Western market for East Asian art between 1842 and 1939. By building up a database of actors, places and objects, the project aims to reconstruct the geography of the market and analyze its mechanisms in terms of value creation, market strategies, object categories and expertise. The project intends to contribute to a broader understanding of the provenience of the colonial heritage in Western private and official collections