Organized Panel Session
The 1920s – 1960s are rich yet little explored terrain in the history of East Asian art collecting, particularly when one looks beyond elite collections.The significance of this period for the field, and for transnational cultural history, lies in numerous intersecting themes that this panel will explore. Pioneering collectors such as Charles Lang Freer had passed away by the 1920s, yet the appreciation of Asian artifacts matured into both a more professional and popular practice. Consumer culture was burgeoning in the United States, a phenomenon exploited by dealers such as Yamanaka & Co., which not only exhibited ancient Chinese and newer Joseon pieces, but also advertised them in House Beautiful and showcased them in model homes. The modernist aesthetic in the United States was fundamentally shaped by the marketplace and, as this panel proposes, certain kinds of East Asian artifacts. The papers add nuance to the established view that Japan’s art and artists contributed to inter- and post-war design, build on recent scholarship illuminating Chinese influence on British modernism, and reveal the contemporary significance of Korean goods. The panel stresses the importance of considering how Japanese, Chinese, and Korean collections in the West changed in relation to one another, as boundaries between these cultures were radically reconfigured by the rise and fall of the Japanese empire, the Chinese revolution, and the Korean war. These political changes deeply impacted access to, and understandings of, East Asia and its artifacts, which shifted,in turn, the everyday visual and material culture of many Americans.