The partnership begins with the exhibition “Americans Abroad: Landscape and Artistic Exchange, 1800-1920,” opening at the Tsinghua University Art Museum in September. Curated by Jennifer McComas, the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s curator of European and American Art, the exhibition will feature 50 European and American paintings drawn primarily from the permanent collection of the Eskenazi Museum of Art. Other lenders to the exhibition are the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields and the Indiana University Campus Art Collection.
Works by Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte, Jasper F. Cropsey, Winslow Homer and Maurice Brazil Prendergast will be included. The exhibition catalog, produced collaboratively by the Tsinghua University Museum of Art and the Eskenazi Museum of Art, will be published in both Mandarin Chinese and English and will feature essays by McComas, Indiana University art history professor Michelle Facos and Xu Hong from the Tsinghua museum.
“Although several other American museums have sent exhibitions to China in recent years, this partnership is the first we know of between university art museums in the United States and China,” McComas said. “This project provides a unique opportunity for the Eskenazi Museum of Art to share its collections with a new member of the international academic museum community.
“I am especially excited to highlight our collection of 19th-century American art, as this subject is still not very well known outside of the United States. With ‘Americans Abroad,’ we hope to foster increased scholarly interest in this topic among Chinese faculty and students.”
The partnership between the two museums was established following Eskenazi Museum of Art director David Brenneman’s visit to Tsinghua in spring 2017 to discuss possibilities for cooperation. “Americans Abroad,” the partnership’s inaugural project, is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art, an organization whose mission is “dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences.” Additional support comes from the IU China Gateway office in Beijing and the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs at IU.
A reciprocal exhibition of Chinese scroll paintings from the Tsinghua University Art Museum’s permanent collection will travel to the Eskenazi Museum of Art after the current major renovation of the museum’s I.M. Pei designed building is completed.
“As part of one of China’s most prestigious universities, Tsinghua University Art Museum aims to enhance the university’s humanities-oriented spirit and ensure its place as a world-class university with first-class disciplines,” said Yang Dongjiang, vice director of Tsinghua University Art Museum. “The museum’s mission is to ‘manifest humanistic spirit, gather artistic essence, exhibit quality collections, conduct academic research, facilitate domestic and foreign exchanges, communicate information, cultivate new cultural trends and spur the growth of new talent.’
“This exhibition interprets the development of European and American landscape paintings from multiple perspectives and will allow Chinese audiences to know more about how landscape painting works on the other side of the ocean. In the meanwhile, we hope that this opportunity will be used to enhance and deepen the understanding and cooperation between the two museums, and to promote cultural exchanges between China and the United States and co-establish a splendid vision of China and the United States.”
The exchange is the second such arrangement that the Eskenazi Museum of Art has initiated during the past year. A similar multiyear partnership and exchange with the Speed Art Museum in Louisville was announced in January.
“Through these partnerships we are able to share our magnificent collection with other parts of the world, and ensure that a steady flow of loaned works from our partners will be on view at our museum when we reopen,” Brenneman said. “These partnerships extend our reach beyond the museum walls, while providing a richer experience for museum visitors here in Bloomington.”
About the Eskenazi Museum of Art
Since its establishment in 1941, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University has grown from a small university teaching collection into one of the foremost university art museums in the country. Today, the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s internationally acclaimed collection, ranging from ancient gold jewelry and African masks to paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, includes more than 45,000 objects representing nearly every art-producing culture throughout history. The IU Eskenazi Museum of Art is currently undergoing an extensive renovation of its I.M. Pei designed building and is scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2019. To learn more about the renovation and stay current on all museum news, visit the museum’s website at artmuseum.indiana.edu.
About the Tsinghua University Art Museum
Tsinghua University Art Museum officially opened to the public on Sept. 10, 2016, and became a new force among university museums in China. The museum building, divided into 14 exhibition halls, is designed by the internationally recognized Swiss architect Mario Botta. This four-story building has a central symmetrical layout and is equipped with up-to-date facilities. TAM’s collection includes more than 13,000 works in six major categories, namely, painting and calligraphy, embroidery, porcelain, furniture, bronze ware, and comprehensive artwork.
In addition to exhibitions, collection, research, and public education, TAM also conducts exhibition planning, quality collection presentation, various academic activities, public service and education platform building, playing an irreplaceable role in spreading historical, humanistic and artistic essences as well as modern technological innovation outcomes.
About the Terra Foundation for American Art
The Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. Recognizing the importance of experiencing original works of art, the foundation provides opportunities for interaction and study, beginning with the presentation and growth of its own art collection in Chicago. To further cross-cultural dialogue on American art, the foundation supports and collaborates on innovative exhibitions, research and educational programs.