Art Worlds

Artists, Images, and Audiences in Late Nineteenth-Century Shanghai


Roberta Wue

ISBN : 978-988-8208-46-3

Film, Media, Fine Arts

December 2014

304 pages, 7″ x 10″, 75 color illus.

For sale in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand only

  • HK$500.00

The growth of Shanghai in the late nineteenth century gave rise to an exciting new art world in which a flourishing market in popular art became a highly visible part of the treaty port’s commercialized culture. Art Worlds examines the relationship between the city’s visual artists and their urban audiences. Through a discussion of images ranging from fashionable painted fans to lithograph-illustrated magazines, the book explores how popular art intersected with broader cultural trends. It also investigates the multiple roles played by the modern Chinese artist as image-maker, entrepreneur, celebrity, and urban sojourner. Focusing on industrially produced images, mass advertisements, and other hitherto neglected sources, the book offers a new interpretation of late Qing visual culture at a watershed moment in the history of modern Chinese art.

Art Worlds will be of interest to scholars of art history and to anyone with an interest in the cultural history of modern China.

Roberta Wue is an associate professor in the Department of Art History at the University of California, Irvine. She is the co-author of Picturing Hong Kong: Photography 1855–1910 (Asia Society, 1997).

“By focusing on objects, sites, social networks, and technologies, this elegantly conceived book enriches our understanding of art production and consumption in nineteenth-century Shanghai. The author makes masterful use of newspapers, guidebooks, diaries, and advertisements—as well as paintings—to present readers with the compelling story of a city and its artists.” —Tobie Meyer-Fong, author of What Remains: Coming to Terms with Civil War in 19th Century China and Building Culture in Early Qing Yangzhou

“Rich in findings, forensic in visual analysis and—not least—elegantly crafted, Wue’s book on painting, printing and the social worlds of art in late-Qing Shanghai is an exemplary contribution. A must-read volume.” —Shane McCausland, author of Zhao Mengfu: Calligraphy and Painting for Khubilai’s China