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East Asian Art Collections in Europe: Networks – Market Mechanisms – Taste (1842-1939)


Bénédicte Savoy


Christine Howald


Charlotte Guichard (CNRS/Paris)

Project Description

The forced opening of East Asia to the West in the middle of the 19th century allowed access to an enormous art market, leading to a Western euphoria for Asian art. Collectors, traders, and experts – as well as smugglers, intermediaries, and officials – began avidly collecting these art objects both in Europe and America, as well as in the Western concessions of East Asia. The research project focuses on the international actors and transnational networks that, by making these objects accessible, determined the trajectory of Western engagement with Far East Asian art. The project uses a network analytical approach to reconstruct the geography of the art market (places, actors, and objects) and thus investigates the interdependencies between actors and their influences on the development of the market and collections between 1842 – the year East Asia was forced to open to the West – and 1939, the year of the outbreak of WWII. By researching the national and individual interests, which were reliant on the political, economic, and technological developments of the time, the project will shed light on decisions made in relation to the distribution, quality, and price of the objects which would eventually build the basis of private and public European art collections.



„All the Beauty of the World. The Western Market for non-European Artefacts in 18th-20th Century“

International Symposium

Berlin, 13.-15. October 2016

Further Information (Forum Kunst und Markt)
Call for Papers (PDF, 589,6 KB)
Videos of Conference Presentations (Gerda Henkel Stiftung)
Final Podium Discussion (Inforadio)
Radio Interview with Bénédicte Savoy (Deutschlandradio Kultur)


„Antiquités dépaysées au XVIIe siècle“

International Workshop

Paris, 16.-17. December 2014

Flyer (PDF, 1,2 MB)

Zusatzinformationen / Extras

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