Thoughts About Guided Tours

It is actually fascinating to watch visitors in exhibitions. A museum experience can differ greatly depending on an individual’s preference. Some enjoy walking alone and reading the labels or books; some like renting audio equipment and almost ubiquitously Chinese and Japanese like posing for snapshots in front of the artwork. For others there are guided […]

Bye, Claude

Most Chinese of my generation have an inexplicable profound love of Monet and his impressionism fellows. When Internet was not available in most of China in the late early 1990’s, Western Art seldom reached the public outside the major art institutes. Among the few magazines for English language education, quite a few chose famous artworks […]

Class notes from “Rethinking Period Rooms”, a series of lectures at BMA — 1. The Birth

Ironically, the American Period Rooms now displayed and treasured in the major art museums were born with little anticipation of being appreciated in themselves as art. Yet, even the notion that the period room was introduced as backdrop for displaying antique objects is not totally correct. In most cases, the silent rooms, dimly lit, cannot […]

Multi-tasking Rooms

Most of the early 18th century period rooms in Brooklyn Museum of Art, to my surprise, are displayed without evidence of human presence. This casts a striking contrast with the rooms of later period such as Milligan’s library with Nora’s Ark. In the 18th Century American period rooms, furniture, mostly chairs and tables, are placed […]

The Amercian in a Barbizon Mood

In reading the book “American Art In the Barbizon Mood,” I am surprised to find out American Barbizon school is yet to be defined even though the exhibition was held in Washington DC more than 30 years ago. Tonalism is in general used to define the same school, although tonalism itself is such a very […]

Autumn Scenes by John Francis Murphy

I have known the name of the painter John Francis Murphy since I began to study American paintings. He was associated with the American Barbizon and Tonalism schools without geographically joining the Old Lyme Colony. Thus when a painting of Murphy offered by John Moran Auction’s showed up, it immediately caught my eye. The painting […]

American Collectors of French Furniture

The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our […]