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As Others See Us

DATES June 01, 1940 through September 29, 1940
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  • June 4, 1940 How the people of Europe and the Western Hemisphere look to Indian, Persian, Chinese and Japanese artists will be the most extensive summer exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, called, “As Others See Us,” consisting of over 100 exhibits such as paintings on glass and on porcelain objects, Oriental miniatures, wallpapers, prints and lacquered pen cases. The principal effect on the visitor will be that of amusement at the combination of Oriental designs and Western features and dress. It opens June 4, and continues through September 29.

    Subjects that are shown were painted from the 17th Century, when white men first went to the Near and Far East in large numbers, through the 20th Century. Occidentals were objects of great curiosity to Orientals because of their chin whiskers, a style new to the East, pronounced noses and deep-set eyes. Many of the examples shown are from the Museum’s collections, but there is also a liberal proportion of loans. The lenders are: American Museum of Natural History, Isabella Barclay Inc., Mr. William A. Burden, Ralph M. Chait, Miss Mabel Choate, Mrs. Teresa M. Clayton, Columbia University, Mrs. W. Murray Crane, Charles R. Gracie, J. A. Lloyd Hyde, The Iran Industries Corporation, Mr. Louis V. Ledoux, H. Kevorkian, Little Jones & Company, C. T. Loo and Company, Meerkerk, Inc., Kirkor Minassian, H. Kahn Monif, Ellis Monroe, Inc., Roland Moore, Mrs. William H. Moore, R. Y. Mottahedeh, J. Zado Noorian, Old Print Shop, Inc., Parish-Watson & Company, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Professor George Rowley, Tonying & Company, Mrs. Kenneth Torrence, Wells Objects of Art, Inc., and Yamanaka & Co.

    In the Chinese section are two wallpaper paintings, one evidently for exportation to the English market showing figures in a European landscape done in a thoroughly Chinese manner, and the other a four-panelled screen of wallpaper done from an old European print of Castle Gardens and the Battery in New York City. The present Aquarium building is shown half hidden behind trees. The typical touch marking it as Oriental is a spotted deer in the foreground. Five paintings on glass are after mezzotint portraits of English beauties of the late 18th Century.

    Several pieces of porcelain with pictures on them are shown. There are two porcelain plates with subjects evidently copied from engravings imported from Europe by the Jesuits who had a strong foothold in China in the late 17th and early 18th Century, as well as scenes on bowls and vases, and enamelled painted vessels from Canton. One plate depicts “The Judgment of Paris.” Late in the 19th Century Europeans were pictured in Chinese publications, a number of which are shown, lent by Columbia University. To those who can read them there are revealed a great many amusing misunderstandings and misstatements.

    Indian artists used Europeans as subjects as the result of the Portuguese trade that began early in the 17th Century. An example of this is in a textile from the Museum’s collection, made about 1630, showing home of these early traders. As the Indians became more accustomed to the Westerners and saw imported prints, they used Western subjects such as the Virgin and Child set in an Indian background. There are also six European 17th Century engravings mounted in the manner of Indian miniatures, with European titles translated into words in Arabic letters.

    Several examples of Persian lacquered pen cases with portraits in medallions portraying Europeans are included.

    The great field of Japanese prints and paintings on silk is drawn on in a selection of prints from the Museum’s collection, showing Dutch traders who were stationed at Nagasaki - men with large noses and chin whiskers, dressed in what the artists considered outlandish costumes, in settings of houses and furnished rooms done in the flat Japanese decorative style. One remarkable print is a cross section of the interior of a sail and steam-powered German warship. In prints made at the time of the Russo-Japanese War showing battles and treaty negotiations the same pictorial technique was still used. Two paintings on exhibition, belonging to the Museum, are of 17th Century Dutch merchantmen, and an early 19th Century portrait on silk of a Dutch lady and her child.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 05-06/1940, 103-4.
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  • June 1, 1940 Main entrance hall: right and left:
    Transparencies after Japanese screens depicting Portuguese traders and their ships and the Jesuits who accompanied them.

    Small entrance gallery: right to left:
    Japanese prints depicting
    1. A parade of foreign sailors with foreign and Japanese spectators.
    2. A foreign tea party.
    3. A foreign merchant’s establishment.
    4. Dutch merchants.
    5. to 7. Scenes from the lives of famous foreigners.
    8. Sight-seeing foreigners in Japan.
    9. An early Japanese railway train with foreigners.
    10. to 12. Foreign women; from a Chinese-printed book dated 1761.
    13. Foreign tea party.
    14. Foreigners at the Japanese theatre.

    Exhibition gallery: right to left:
    1. 18th century silk panel painted in China for the European market showing European figures in cartouches with amorini of quaint Chinese style and with Chinese birds, animals and flowers. Lent by Isabella Barclay.
    2. A reception by Japanese notables to American visitors.
    3. A Japanese fashion plate showing European costume of the late 19th century.
    4. Table case with eight volumes of a Chinese magazine published between 1884 and 1906. These magazines are open at pages depicting various scenes of European life.
    5. to 10. Six Chinese paintings on glass, 18th to 19th century; five of them showing portrait studies probably copied from European prints but with a strange Chinesizing of the features. The sixth shows European women in a garden. Lent by Yamanaka and Company.
    11. A large Chinese painting, probably intended as a wallpaper panel showing Europeans in a landscape. Undoubtedly derived from an English print of the late 18th century. Lent by C. T. Loo.

    Case #I:
    12. Head of a European. Probably originally used for the head of a walking stick, but now converted into a snuff-bottle. China, 18th century. Lent by J. A. Lloyd Hyde.
    13. Teapot with scene derived from European print, Chinese 18th century. Lent by J. A. Lloyd Hyde.
    14. Porcelain bowl with grotesque European figures. China 18th century. Lent by Ellis Monroe.
    15. Large punch bowl with hunting scene. China 18th century. Brooklyn Museum Collection.
    16. and 17. English hunting prints of the 18th century. Lent by The Old Print Shop. From prints such as these combining hunting scenes with armorial bearings the scene on the Brooklyn bowl was undoubtedly derived.
    18. Saucer with arms of the State of New York.
    19. A pitcher with British clipper ship.
    20. Wedding teapot with intertwined initials and typical Chinese amorini.
    21. Saucer with decoration derived from an engraving after a painting by Nicolas Lancret, “The Cherry Pickers.”

    These four objects, numbers 18 to 21, are lent by R. Y. Mottahedeh.

    The objects shown in this case (Numbers 11 to 21) are of the so-called “Chinese Lowestoft” porcelain. Actually they have nothing to do with the Lowestoft manufacture in England, but are simply a rather coarse porcelain product made in China in the early 18th and 19th centuries at the order of the great Western export companies. They are often, as in the case of those shown, decorated with designs furnished by the prospective clients.

    22. Transparencies from Chinese book dated 1761:
    “Illustrations of tribute-bearing (sic!) emissaries during the Ching Dynasty.”

    Case #II
    23. to 31. Chinese enamels of the 18th century. As in the case of the Lowestoft porcelains, many of the enameled wares of the late 18th century show scenes adapted from European prints, mainly the type of prints known as “fetes galantes.”

    An example is shown with the enamels. These enamels, as well as some of the finer porcelains often ranked with the finer wares of the period. Most of them are from the period of Chi’en Lung, 1736 to 1796, when there was a great interest among the Chinese themselves for things Western.
    No. 23. Lent by Mrs. Kenneth Torrence.
    No. 24. Lent by Mrs. Theresa Clayton.
    No. 25. Lent by Mr. Ellis Monroe.
    No. 26. Lent by Mr. Parish-Watson.
    No. 27. to 31. Lent by Mrs. Theresa Clayton.
    32. to. 36. Chinese Religious Prints.
    32, 33, 35, and 36, are Jesuit-inspired scenes, probably largely modelled after European wood-cuts of the early 19th century. These prints are lent by the American Museum of Natural History. They show, among other things, the deathbeds of a righteous and a wicked man.
    34. Lent by Mr. George Rowley, show Kuan Lin, a Buddhist saint, as Charles II in armor, which may be dated about 1700.

    Case #III
    37. to 38. A plate and punch-bowl of Chinese Lowestoft, 18th century. The plate with fete galante, the punch-bowl with hunting scenes and European portraits in medallions. Lent by Mrs. W. Murray Crane.
    39, 40, 42, 43. Dutch wood-cuts of the 17th century colored by an East Indian artist and set in an ornamental border with the names of the saints inscribed in Persian at the top. This is very interesting as showing imported wood-cuts adapted for use in an Indian album. Many other wood-cuts were used as models for paintings in the Indian manner at this period and even earlier, when owing to the influence of the Jesuits at the court of the Moguls there was great interest in Christian subjects. Lent by H. Kevorkian.
    41. Chinese painting of the Annunciation, 17th century. Lent by The American Museum of Natural History.

    Case #IV
    44. Praying figure. Bronze. China, 18th century. Lent by Mrs. W. Murray Crane.
    45. to 47. “Chinese Lowestoft” porcelains. Late 18th century. Crucifixion and emblems of the Passion. After European engravings. Lent by R. Y. Mottahedeh.
    48. Ivory crucifix. China, 20th century. Anonymous Loan.
    49. to 50. At back of case. Reproductions of Chinese paintings of the seventeenth century, showing (right) Christ with the two disciples at Emmaus and (left) Saint Luke.

    Note: From the late sixteenth century down to the present day there has been a steady output of “objets de piete” and paintings and prints in China under Jesuit influence. Most of them are directly inspired from European models but subtly Chinesized in the process of copying. Some are made for export and some for the use of the Christian community in China.

    Rear right wall:
    51. Indian miniature painting of the seventeenth century. Portrait of a foreigner. Lent by K. Minassian.
    52. Indian miniature painting of the seventeenth century. European woman. Lent by H. Kevorkian.
    53. Kirman rug dating from the 1890’s. This rug, made in one of the famous centers of Persian rug-weaving, undoubtedly was inspired by the Columbian exposition in Chicago (1893), if not woven for it. It represents the “Tree of civilization” taking root, apparently, amid the lagoons of the World’s Fair. Above, to right and left, are Columbus arid Queen Isabella. In the branches are depicted the rulers and leaders and representative buildings of most of the nations of the world. The culmination is the Ferris wheel, with the Liberty Bell and President Washington, surrounded by Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland and Harrison just below. Other characters represented are the Mikado, Alexander the third of Russia, Queen Victoria, the Emperor Franz Josef, Abdul Hamid and the Shah of Persia. This rug is of great interest as a document and also on account of the fineness and firmness of its weave. Lent by Iran Industries.
    54. Indian miniature painting, 17th century. Undoubtedly inspired by a print after Breughel or one of his followers. Lent by H. Kevorkian.

    Case #V
    Persian Lacquer Wares
    55. to 56. Prints such as the two from the Museum collections, at the back of this case, undoubtedly inspired much of the Persian lacquer ware.
    57. The mirror case in the center of this group, from the Museum collection, draws on a number of unrelated sources for its inspiration, grouping figures from totally different compositions into a pleasing whole. The Victorian figure at the right has been subtly transformed into a Persian beauty with great, Oriental eyes.
    58. The pen-case below combines Oriental and Western subjects. In the center is King Khosrau (Chosroes) of the old Persian legend, lost in admiration of the beautiful Shirin, whom he surprises at her bath. To left and right are medallions with female portraits of European inspiration and at the ends are pious scenes, also derived from European sources. Lent by K. Minassian.
    59. (Right end of case)
    Mirror case with Holy Family. Lent by K. Minassian.
    60. Pen case with female figure. Lent by K. Minassian.
    61. Pen case with two Victorian maidens in medallion. Lent by H. K. Monif.
    62. to 63. (At extreme left of case). Mirror case and cover inspired by 18th century European prints. The case shows the Annunciation; the cover and allegorical composition. Lent by K. Minassian.
    64. Pen case inspired by European originals of the Empire period. Lent by H. K. Monif.

    Left wall:
    65. Persian miniature painting. 17th century. Probably St. Mary Magdalene. Lent by K. Minassian.
    66. Indian miniature painting of a Portuguese gentleman, late 17th century. Lent by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
    67. Indian miniature painting, 17th century, religious scene. Lent by H. Kevorkian.
    68. Indian miniature painting, Mother and Child. 17th century. Anonymous Loan.
    69. Indian painted cotton showing Portuguese ladies and gentlemen. 17th century. Museum Collection.
    70. Indian miniature painting showing Mother and Child, 17th century. Lent by H. Kevorkian.
    71. Indian miniature painting showing saint. 17th century. Lent by H. K. Monif.
    72. Indian miniature painting showing Nativity. Grisaille, touched with color. 17th century. Lent by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
    73. Indian miniature painting of Mother and Child, 17th century. Lent by H. Kevorkian.
    Note: The Western traders, Portuguese, Dutch, French and English, sought the favor of the Great Moghuls who were still, in the seventeenth century, a power to be reckoned with. With the Portuguese traders came the Jesuits, who found a hearing at the courts of such liberal-minded rulers as Akbdar. European paintings and prints were brought to India to help teach Christianity, and Indian albums were filled with the miniature paintings they inspired.

    Case #VI
    74. Persian miniature painting, 16th century, showing Portuguese visiting Buddhist shrine. Lent by H. Kevorkian.
    75. Persian tile, 18th century, showing European lady. Lent by J. Zado Noorian.
    Chinese representations of their nearest Western neighbors, the Turks. Tang period;
    76. A Turkish servant. Anonymous Loan.
    77. Turcoman on horseback. Lent by C. Edward Wells.
    78. A peddlar from the West. Lent by C. T. Loo.

    Case #VII
    79. to 80. French prints of the 18th century. Lent by Kennedy and Company.
    81. Porcelain figure of a Dutch woman. 18th century. Lent by Ralph M. Chait.
    82. and 87. Pair of fine porcelain plates with foreigners. 18th century. Lent by Ton Ying Company.
    83. Porcelain plate with Judgment of Paris. 18th century. Lent by Ralph M. Chait.
    84. Blanc de chine group showing Dutch trader (bearded) concluding a transaction. Lent by Roland Moore.
    85. Fan decorated in China with European scene. Brooklyn Museum Collection.
    86. to 88 and 90. Japanese prints showing scenes of the Russo-Japanese war. Brooklyn Museum Collection.
    89. Panels of Chinese painted wall-paper. 20th century, made after a print of Castle Garden, New York. Note the Chinese touches in the faces and poses of the personages, in the handling of the trees and in the spotted deer In the foreground. Lent by Charles A. Gracie.
    90. Japanese print showing cross-section of a Western ship. Brooklyn Museum collection.
    91. Japanese painting showing Dutch women and child. Brooklyn Museum Collection.
    92. Chinese painting on glass showing a European “factory” or trading post. Probably the Dutch factory at Macao. Lent by M. Meerkerk.
    93. Japanese painting of 17th century Dutch ship. Brooklyn Museum Collection.
    In table case:
    94. Folding album showing the costumes of the peoples of the world. Japan. 18th century. Brooklyn Museum Collection.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 05-06/1940, 112-8.
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  • May 31, 1940 The Brooklyn Museum is arranging as its principal exhibition to run through the summer a showing of East Indian and Oriental art, with emphasis on the humorous note. A wide variety of objects in the fields of Persian, Indian, Chinese and Japanese art is being selected from the Museum’s collections and borrowed from thirty lenders. These objects show Westerners, that is, Europeans and Americans, drawn by Eastern artists from direct observation and from Occidental pictures. The results are entertainingly naive as well as being in the best artistic traditions of their countries.

    The exhibition, entitled “As Others See Us,” will open on Tuesday, June 4, and will continue through September 29.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 05-06/1940, 107.
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