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Asian art historian Chang joins art program


March 29, 2007

The ASU Herberger College School of Art has announced the appointment of New York artist and 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 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 the contemporary practice of ink painting.

He will remain in consultation with the 25 participating students during the remainder of the spring semester as they continue their studies.

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 in 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 and 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 in October.

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

In June, the Herberger College Art History program published 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 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 couple's interest in Asia was sparked by their stay in the Philippines , where Roy Papp served as the U.S. director of the Asian Development Bank (1975-1977) headquartered at Manila . The couple settled in Phoenix in the late 1970s and lent their support to building cultural institutions, notably the Phoenix Art Museum and the Arizona Opera Co. To honor their contributions to the community, ASU awarded them honorary degrees in 2000.

Denise Tanguay, denise.tanguay@asu.edu
480-965-7144