The Dragon and the Chrysanthemum: Collecting Chinese and Japanese Art in America

painting of woman in colorful robe seated on rug surrounded by drawings on floor

The Center for the History of Collecting and the Rockefeller Archive Center hosted a two-day symposium, The Dragon and the Chrysanthemum: Collecting Chinese and Japanese Art in America.

Topics discussed ranged from the China Trade during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; missionary collectors such as John Ferguson; Gilded-Age collectors from Boston and their passion for Chinese and Japanese art; distinguished collectors such as Laurence Sickman, who collected specifically for museums; dealers such as C. T. Loo; John D. Rockefeller III's collecting and his relationship with his advisor Sherman Lee; and, finally, the shifting trends of collecting Chinese and  Japanese art after World War II.

The keynote speaker was Maxwell Hearn, Douglas Dillon Curator in Charge of the Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other speakers included William Sargent, Independent Curator, former curator of Asian export art, Peabody Essex Museum; Stanley Abe, Associate Professor, Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, and Director, Program in the Arts of the Moving Image, Duke University; Christine Guth, Head, Asian Design Specialism, Royal College of Art, and Victoria and Albert Museum History of Design Programme; Daisy Yiyou Wang, Chinese Art Project Specialist, Freer|Sackler, Smithsonian Institution; Louise Cort, Curator for Ceramics, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Lara Netting, J. Clawson Mills Fellow, Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Jason Steuber, Cofrin Curator of Asian Art, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida; Adriana Proser, John H. Foster Curator of Traditional Asian Art, Asia Society Museum; and Warren Cohen, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Michigan State University and University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Senior Scholar, Asia Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The symposium concluded with Conversations with a major collector of Chinese contemporary art.

In collaboration with the Rockefeller Archive Center the symposium was made possible through the generous support of the Japanese Art Dealers' Association.

Link to Conference Videos.

Caprice in Purple and Gold: The Golden Screen, 1864, James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), Freer|Sackler, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1904.75a.