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A Perpetual Fire


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About the Author

Lara Netting received her PhD in East Asian Studies at Princeton University in 2009. She has held a Getty Fellowship at the Asia Society Museum and the J. Clawson Mills Fellowship at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Art collectors continuously shape and reshape our view of the artistic past, determining what later generations are able to see and how they see it. Between 1912 and 1943, the Canadian-American John C. Ferguson led a public career in Republican China that would have made a Chinese scholar proud, serving as a major government advisor and influential academician. From deep inside of the Beijing and Nanjing cultural circles, as a private collector and buyer for American museums (the Metropolitan Museum and Cleveland Museum of Art among others), he helped to dramatically redirect American interests in Chinese art from the taste of Japanese aficionados to that of the Chinese literati. Lara Netting's thorough study brings the remarkable and complex John Ferguson back to life. She restores to him the credit he has long deserved, while at the same time using his example to demonstrate how our definition of 'art' is an ever-changing construct. -- Jerome Silbergeld, P. Y. & Kinmay W. Tang Professor of Chinese Art History, Princeton University An important addition to the field of study that focuses on how and why the arts of China were and continue to be collected. -- Jason Steuber CAA Reviews

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