Eskenazi Museum of Art at IU launches international partnership with exhibition in Beijing, China

The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana Universityhas entered into a new multiyear partnership with the Tsinghua University Art Museum at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. The partnership features cooperation in the areas of exhibitions, programs, and staff and student exchanges over several years.

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."

IU staff and students visit Tsinghua University Art Museum in March 2017.

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 IU Eskenazi Museum of Art

Since its establishment in 1941, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art has grown from a small university teaching collection into one of the most significant university art collections in the United States. A preeminent teaching museum on the Indiana University campus, its internationally acclaimed collection, ranging from ancient gold jewelry and African and Oceanic works to paintings by modern masters such as Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock, includes more than 45,000 objects representing nearly every art-producing culture throughout history.

The Eskenazi Museum of Art just completed a $30 million renovation of its acclaimed I. M. Pei–designed building. When it reopens on November 7, 2019, the newly renovated museum will be an enhanced teaching resource for Indiana University and southern Indiana. The museum is dedicated to engaging students, faculty, artists, scholars, alumni, and the wider public through the cultivation of new ideas and scholarship.

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