Following a widely attended talk earlier this year, Professor Craig Clunas returns for another fascinating exploration into Freud’s Chinese collection as part of Asian Art in London 2017.
Freud’s passion for, and avid collecting of antiquities is well known, but attention has tended to focus on the objects he owned from the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean; Greece and Rome, and Ancient Egypt. His Chinese collections, begun later in life, are by contrast less well known and relatively little-discussed, even though Chinese objects were literally staring him in the face as he sat at his desk, as many now-iconic images show. His beloved dogs were in a sense ‘Chinese’ too (and certainly had Chinese names). This lecture looks at Freud’s Chinese objects, and at knowledge about those objects, situating him in the context of late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century ideas of the ‘East’, and examining some surprising parallels with his close contemporary, the archaeologist Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862-1943).
Craig Clunas is Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford, and the first scholar of Asian art to hold this Chair. He has worked as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as teaching art history at the universities of Chicago and Sussex, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Visual China Research Centre, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou. In 2014 he co-curated the British Museum exhibition, ‘Ming: 50 Years that Changed China‘. His most recent book, based on the 2012 Mellon lectures delivered at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, is ‘Chinese Painting and its Audiences’ (2017).