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SU/Phoenix Art Museum Chinese art scholar appointed

March 05, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. - The ASU Herberger College School of Art is pleased to announce the appointment of New York artist/art historian Arnold Chang as the first distinguished visiting scholar for the newly initiated Marilyn and Roy Papp ASU-Phoenix Art Museum Chinese Painting Program.

Chang began his appointment at ASU in January 2007 with a three-week residency during which he taught intensive classes in “Topics in Chinese Landscape Painting,” focusing on landscape tradition, research methods in Chinese painting history, and on the contemporary practice of ink painting.  He will remain in consultation with the 25 participating students during the remainder of the spring 2007 semester as they continue their study. 

Chang is well known in the Asian art world as the founder of the biannual Chinese painting auctions at Sotheby’s New York in the late 1970s and Hong Kong in the 1980s.  After 15 years at Sotheby’s followed by another decade as painting specialist at Kaikodo, New York, Chang returned to his art historical work begun years earlier at University of California, Berkeley.  That early work resulted in a pioneering study, Painting in the People’s Republic of China: The Politics of Style, published in 1980.

Based on years of direct study with artist/connoisseur C.C. Wang (Wang Jiqian, 1907-2003), Chang developed a distinctive style of ink landscape painting.  His recent exhibition at Eskenazi in London, the gallery’s first exhibition of the work of a living artist, was reviewed in ARTnews, October 2006. 

The Marilyn and Roy Papp ASU-Phoenix Art Museum Chinese Painting Program has been established at ASU to promote research and publication on Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasty paintings in the Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection, much of which is housed at the Phoenix Art Museum. 

The Herberger College Art History program published in June 2006, a volume of Phoebus, Occasional Papers in Art History, including studies based on Chinese paintings in the Papp collection.  The volume includes a brief catalog of paintings in the inaugural gift from the Papp collection to the Phoenix Art Museum received in 2005.  A preface in the volume announces the establishment of The Marilyn and Roy Papp ASU-Phoenix Art Museum Program, and describes the nature of activities that the fund supports.

Over the past two decades, Marilyn and Roy Papp built one of the world’s finest private collections of Chinese painting.  Covering a 400 year period from the late 15th century to the beginning of the 20th, the collection includes nearly 200 works from China’s Ming and Qing dynasties.  From the start of their collecting, Marilyn and Roy Papp chose to involve scholars at ASU and the Phoenix Art Museum who since 1984 have conducted research relating to paintings in the collection, with several resulting publications and exhibitions. 

The Papp’s interest in Asia was sparked by their residence in the Philippines, where Ambassador Papp served as the U.S. Director of the Asian Development Bank (1975-1977) headquartered at Manila.  Settling in Phoenix in the late 1970s, the Papps lent their support to building cultural institutions, notably the Phoenix Art Museum and the Arizona Opera Company.  To honor their contributions to the community, ASU awarded them honorary degrees in 2000.

The School of Art a division of the Herberger College of the Arts at Arizona State University. Its printmaking, photography and art education programs are nationally ranked in the top 10, and its Master of Fine Arts program is ranked eighth among public institutions by U.S.News & World Report. To learn more about the School of Art, visit 

Media Contact:
Claudia Brown
Art history professor