Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Art History Professor Aileen Tsui Gives Invited Lectures on Whistler's Art in Tokyo and Beijing

Whistler's "Caprice in Purple and Gold: The Golden Screen," from
 the Freer Gallery of Art, was among the works Professor Tsui explored
 in her lecture at Sophia University.

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Professor Aileen Tsui was recently a guest lecturer at two prestigious universities in Asia, sharing her expertise on the works of American artist James McNeill Whistler.

Tsui, an associate professor of art history at Washington College, delivered a lecture at Sophia University in Tokyo titled “Whistler’s Golds: Classicism, Japanism and Modernist Authority.” Her lecture explored Whistler’s fascination with the color, material and metaphorical resonance of gold. From there she examined the artist’s participation in modernist challenges to traditional Western standards for judging the quality and value of art. She also addressed the broader issue of how Whistler’s paintings were affected by his fascination with, and admiration for, Japanese and Chinese art. 

At Peking University’s School of Art in Beijing, China, her lecture was titled “Chinese Porcelain and Modern Painting in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Case of James McNeill Whistler's Art."

Tsui joined the Washington College faculty in 2004. A graduate of Yale University who earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University and was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University, she focuses much of her research and teaching in the areas of British, French and American art of the 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition to delving into Whistler’s career, her specialties include exoticism in visual culture, modernist painting, feminist theories in the visual arts, and the relationship between image and text.


  1. How are we looking at the paintings of Mark Rothko these days?
    Is he old hat, replaced in America by more contemporary concerns? Looking at his minimal canvases and their enticing floating squares of subdued paint live at the MOMA recently, I had to stop to wonder whether he still communicates to a modern and younger audience., the site that sells good canvas prints to order from their database of digital images, has many Rothko prints. I ordered this one, Blue and grey,
    , that I have now hanging in my study. I can spend a long time looking at this elusive image that takes me to some other place not in this world.

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