Chinese Reverse Painting on Glass. Some elements fundamental to its history

The history of Chinese reverse painting on glass has yet to be told. The genre is mentioned in a few art-history books, notably those dealing with ‘China Export Art’, i.e. the decorative arts produced in China for exportation to Europe and North America in the 18th and early 19th centuries (porcelain, laquerware, ivory, etc.); and some articles, usually written by antique dealers, have described certain paintings, and discussed style or artists. However, no academic study of the subject has been made.
Yet these works were greatly appreciated at the Chinese Imperial Court before becoming so fashionable in Europe. The European aristocracy and bourgeoisie, and subsequently the American upper classes, ordered large numbers of these Chinese reverse paintings on glass, often based on European prints sent to China for this express purpose.
For more than a hundred years, this art marked the cultural climate of Europe and North America, before inspiring folk-art in China right up until the present day.
This research aims to contribute to our knowledge of one of the original paths in the development of reverse painting on glass, a path that represents one of the few successful encounters of Chinese and Western art.

Doctoral research by Thierry Audric, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Victor Stoichita, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Art History and Archaeology, University of Fribourg. In collaboration with the Vitrocentre Romont; monitored by Yves Jolidon.

Thierry Audric has passed his PhD defense in April 2016. The publication of the thesis will follow.

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