Art Dealers, the Rockefellers and the Network of Chinese Art in America

by Yiyou Wang

Jan 1, 2008
The first half of the twentieth century was a momentous era for the formation of major collections of Chinese art in the United States. An often invisible agent in this process was the international art dealer, who channeled into America the most significant Chinese collections outside China. The crucial role of Chinese art dealers, however, has not been comprehensively examined, partly due to the scarcity and dispersal of available research materials. The Rockefeller Family Archives at the Rockefeller Archive Center holds a rich and unique collection of materials, consisting primarily of correspondence between major international art dealers and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the world's leading collectors of Chinese antiquities. These materials are important not only because they illuminate the modes of transaction in the dealer-collector-museum network, a largely obscure field of study in Chinese art, but also because they reveal the place of origin, properties, provenance, and market value of many important Chinese art objects.
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