Summer School: Chinese Art Books


aa0309_bks_0011By Emily Waldorf

If you are an art history student or simply an aficionado of Chinese art, there is no time like the present to brush up on the basics, particularly in the area of Chinese painting, where memorizing the rich history, artist names, and iconic scroll paintings is crucial for a more critical understanding.  I personally always struggled with Chinese art, learning the names of artists in pinyin and characters was a challenge, so I found Laurie B. Whitman’s article on the top three educational books on Chinese Art in Art + Auction‘s “Required Reading” column of particular interest.

Here are her top picks, in suggested order:

  • Maxwell K. Hearn is a curator of Chinese paintings at the MET and his no-nonsense How to Read Chinese Paintings (Yale University Press/the Metropolitan Museum of Art, $25) is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step approach to gain a working knowledge of the 36 iconic paintings and calligraphic works, illustrated in large format.
  • Art and China’s Revolution (Yale University Press/Asia Society, $65),  by Asia Society director Melissa Chiu and the independent curator Zheng Shengtian is for those that want to increase their knowledge of contemporary Chinese art, spawned by Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960’s.

8 Responses to “Summer School: Chinese Art Books”

  1. 1 Bi Sheng

    What an interesting post, Emily. I learn so much on Artsetoile!

    One of my favorite Taschen Books is _China, Portrait of a Country_. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Modern China including how the arts have evolved.

  2. 2 artsetoile

    Thank you Bi Sheng for your thoughtful comment. I actually have the Taschen China, Portrait of a Country book on my coffee table and it is gorgeous and wonderful to read (as most Taschen books are). Thanks again and so glad you enjoyed the post – happy reading!

  3. These are great books, thanks for the suggestions, Emily. Cool last name, with lineage! I have scholars and Asian History, Asian Art majors as customers and they can add plenty to this list. I will begin by offering “Chinese Domestic Furniture in Photographs and Measured Drawings” by Gustav Ecke. It is for collectors but also for inspiration on a lot of my designing that roots itself in classical design from the Ming Dynasty (18th century). Thanks again for the links. – Wilson, Rosewood House, California.

  4. Thanks for passing the link on the Chinese Art Book. I love to know from you. Take care. From Condo Staging Toronto

  5. I’m still learning from you, as I’m trying to reach my goals. I definitely liked reading everything that is posted on your blog.Keep the stories coming. I loved it!

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