2018 loan exhibit
In the Chinese Style
The 2018 Washington Winter Show Loan Exhibit, “In the Chinese Style,” explores our enduring fascination with Chinoiserie, the imitation and evocation of Chinese artistic traditions in the west. Curated by Grant Quertermous of Tudor Place Historic House & Garden, the loan exhibit features objects from a variety of museum and private collections that illustrate the fanciful and often imagined Chinese-style designs that western craftsmen incorporated into furniture, textiles, and other decorative arts throughout the 18th and 19th century.
One theme of the exhibit, inspiration, focuses on sources that helped spread popular Chinoiserie design motifs throughout Europe and across the Atlantic, such as Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director, first published in 1754.
A second theme, interpretation, looks at how these motifs were adapted into western material culture from the iconic blue and white transfer-printed Willow Pattern to Chinese-style railings in the Neoclassical architecture of the Early Republic.
A final theme, continuity, speaks to the timeless popularity of Chinoiserie in the 20th century and its appearance in the work of iconic 20th century American designers.