Collecting Asian Art

Cultural Politics and Transregional Networks in Twentieth-Century Central Europe

Edited by Markéta Hánová, Yuka Kadoi, and Simone Wille

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Museum collections of Asian art in Central Europe.

Rather than centering on the well-known collections in Western European and North American museums, Collecting Asian Art turn to museum collections of Asian art in Central Europe which emerged from the late 19th century onwards. Highlighting the dimensions of Central European connectedness, this volume explores how these collections evolved and changed under changing cultural and political conditions from the pre-World War I to the post-World War II periods. With a primary focus on collections of East and South Asian art in Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Warsaw, Cracow, Budapest, and Ljubljana, it outlines the transregional connections and networks that gradually developed.

Collecting Asian Art locates Asian art across the twentieth-century in Central Europe via discourse and ideology, and discusses key collections and the way individual collectors built their networks. It thus explores transregional connections that developed through collecting activities and strategies in the prewar, interwar and postwar eras. Contributors also examine the personal connections between a group of Indologists from postwar Prague and modernist Indian artists from the early 1950s to the 1980s and also discuss the systematic archiving of East Asian art collections in Slovenia. A concluding conversation looks at colonisation and decolonisation from a broader perspective by approaching it through recent art historical discussions on the global dimensions of modernism. By defining the region through its external relationships and its entanglements with regions across Asia rather than as a self-contained unit, the contributions in this volume outline how these transregional connections and networks evolved and changed over time, thus highlighting their singularity in comparison to developments in Western Europe. Based on recent research, Collecting Asian Art reveals neglected sources while reinterpreting well-known ones.

Contributors: Zdenka Klimtová (National Gallery Prague); Agnieszka Kluczewska-Wójcik (Polish Institute of World Art Studies); Partha Mitter (University of Sussex); Michaela Pejčochová (National Gallery Prague); Uta Rahman Steinert (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin); Iván Szántó (Eötvös Loránd University); Nataša Vampelj Suhadolnik (University of Ljubljana); Johannes Wieninger (MAK – Museum of Applied Arts); Tomáš Winter (Czech Academy of Sciences).

Ebook available in Open Access.
This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

272 pages

32 pp. in colour

ISBN: 9789462703780

Publication: February 15, 2024

Languages: English

Markéta Hánová is the head of the Collection of Asian Art, National Gallery Prague.
Simone Wille is Elise Richter Fellow (V880-G) at the department of Art History, University of Innsbruck.
Yuka Kadoi is Elise Richter Fellow (V-995) at the department of Art History, University of Vienna.
This is a diverse but carefully compiled collection of essays by leading specialists in the field. The book should make a valuable contribution to studies of colonial and post-colonial entanglements in Central Europe, which have been growing dynamically in recent years.
Joanna Wasilewska, The Andrzej Wawrzyniak Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw

The content of the work is fresh and resonates with the contemporary focus on global art history and transcultural studies. The transcultural relationship around museum collectibles between Central Europe and Asia during the height of the Cold War and rising nationalism is relatively unexplored and this volume aims to fill in the lacuna.
Parul Dave-Mukherji, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University