Far Eastern Art Department Records
Held at: Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives [Contact Us]Philadelphia Museum of Art, PO Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Interest in the arts of the orient had been keen from the time of the International Exposition and the founding of the Museum.
The first Curator of Oriental Art was Horace H. F. Jayne, a scholar in the field, who came as an Assistant in 1921. From 1923 until 1927 he was the Curator of Oriental Art. In 1927 he became the Chief of the Division of Eastern Art, which he remained until 1936; from 1931 until 1940 he was the Curator of Chinese Art as well. In 1928 Jayne and his Assistant, Isobel Ingram, went to China and Japan to purchase major architectural objects for the Museum, among these were the Japanese Tea House and Temple, a Chinese Temple and Palace Hall. Jayne was also a Director of the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. He returned to PMA in 1953 as Acting Chief of the Division of Eastern Art until 1954.
From 1931 to 1954 W. Norman Brown was the Curator of Indian Art when it was associated with Eastern Art. Erich Schmidt, from 1931 to 1933, was the Field Director of the Expedition to Persia. Assistants following Ingram were Philip Harding Cate and Lawrence P. Roberts.
Jean Gordon Lee came to PMA in 1939 as an Assistant in the Division of Eastern Art. In 1942 she was Assistant Curator of Eastern Art, in 1944 she was made an Associate Curator of Eastern Art and in 1947 became the Curator of Chinese Art. From 1949 she was Acting Chief of the Division of Eastern Art as well as the Curator of Chinese Art. In 1955 she became the Curator of the Department of Far Eastern Art until she retired in June 1986. Felice Fischer assumed the position of Assistant Curator in the department in 1974. In 1992, the department took on its current designation of "East Asian Art," with Felice Fischer serving as the Associate Curator. In 1997 the Museum to named Ms. Fischer as the Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art and Curator of East Asian Art, a position she continues to hold.
This department's designation and scope has varied since its inception. Prior to its designation as the Department of Far Eastern Art, the office also operated as the Division of Eastern Art, which consisted of Chinese and Indian art, and the Department of Oriental Art. All three offices are represented in these records, which consist of correspondence, notes, reports, articles, clippings and photographs.
In 1992 the department name changed again to its current desigation as the Department of East Asian Art. For these later records and a few overlapping files generated in 1991, see "East Asian Art Department Records." See also "Indian Art Department Records," which begin primarily with the arrival of Dr. Stella Kramrisch to the Museum in 1954.
These materials were arranged and described by Alice Lefton, Bertha Adams and Leslie O'Neill. Funded by a grant from The National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
- Brown, W. Norman (William Norman), 1892-1975
- Jayne, Horace Howard Furness, 1898-
- Lee, Jean Gordon, 1916-
- Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Alice Lefton, Bertha Adams and Leslie O'Neill
- Finding Aid Date
- Funded by a grant from The National Historical Publications and Records Commission
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
The Far Eastern Art Department Records are the physical property of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. The Museum holds literary rights only for material created by Museum personnel or given to the Museum with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication and for other purposes where stated.
Correspondence of Howard H.F. Jayne during his tenure as Curator of Oriental Art is here.Physical Description
.25 linear foot
The records of a quarterly magazine organized by Hamilton Bell, Langdon Warner and Horace H. F. Jayne are here.Physical Description
.25 linear foot
Here is correspondence, in four alphabetical sets of two- and five-year segments; 1927-1928, 1929-1930, 1931-1932, 1933-1937, 1938-1939, when Jayne served as the Chief of the Division of Eastern Art, as well as Curator of Chinese Art.Physical Description
1 linear foot
Manuscripts and typescripts of the reports by Erich Schmidt on the joint expedition to Persia sponsored by PMA and the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, arranged chronologically.Physical Description
1 linear foot
Correspondence conducted during the war years by Brown and Fiske Kimball covering eastern art.Physical Description
.10 linear foot
Three alphabetical sets of correspondence, dated 1942, 1943-1944, and 1945-1946, are included here, with some additional material from 1950.Physical Description
.5 linear foot
This series consists of departmental correspondence, arranged in two alphabetical sets, including one entitled "retired file."Physical Description
2.5 linear feet
This series consists of departmental correspondence, arranged in one alphabetical set.Physical Description
3 linear feet
Two alphabetical sets, one institutional and one for other museums, are here with the correspondence of the department.Physical Description
1.5 linear feet
Material consists of the correspondence, workbooks, and catalog drafts for the PMA exhibition of 1971. See also Series 12 for later-accessioned material that pertains to this exhibition.Physical Description
2.5 linear feet
Memos to and from the department of Far Eastern Art are arranged chronologically here.Physical Description
.25 linear foot
Most of this material documents the 1984 exhibition, "Philadelphians and the China Trade, 1784-1844." The files are topically arranged and pertain to issues such as lenders, exhibition reviews, related institutions, bibliographies, and research subjects that include merchants, importers and investors, ships and manifests and Chinese export objects. Material consists of correspondence, photographs, lists, index cards, clippings and cassette tapes. A small group of files document other exhibitions, beginning with "Art Treasures from Japan," held in 1966 and including the 1971 show on Chinese calligraphy, which is the subject of Series 10.Physical Description
11.5 linear feet
In 1984, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the sailing of the first American ship to China, the PMA opened the exhibition, "Philadelphians and the China Trade, 1784-1844." The monumental exhibition examined the role of Philadelphia in China trading. Featured were over 300 objects, including furniture, porcelains, silver, textiles, and other decorative objetcs. The exhibition was curated by Jean Gordon Lee, Curator of Far Eastern Art. Many of the works featured came from the PMA's collection, while others were on loan from descendents of the traders, and local and international institutions. The records for the exhibition contain administrative, image, lender, and research files. The bulk of the records date from 1983 to 1984.
The administrative files contain records documenting the efforts of the curatorial and support departments. Included catalogue files, conservation files, object files, and other material related to the planning of the exhibition. The bulk of the records date from 1983-1984.
These records contain image files for costumes, documents, furniture, paintings, porcelain, and silver objects. They include black and white photographs, as well as notes and object descriptions.
The lender files contain correspondence, loan agreements, images, notes, and object descriptions for both individual and institutional lenders. The bulk of the records date from 1983 to 1984.
The research files contain biographical and historical information, correspondence, notes,and other material used for both research and reference. The records include files on individuals, eliminated merchants and importers, reports and manifest from trade ships, as well as subject files.
Horace Jayne compiled this pictorial reference of objects that he identified as coming from "China, Japan, Near East and Persia." The material consists of mounted photographs, illustrations and clippings. It appears Jayne relied on auction catalogs for most of the captioned illustrations, which included object descriptions as well as auction house and year of sale.Physical Description
3 linear feet
There are three chronological subseries: 1976-1980; 1981-1985; and 1986-1990. Within each are sub-subseries of record type; namely in-house memoranda; correspondence; and institutional literature. Material in each sub-subseries appears to be alphabetically arranged by subject or correspondent.Physical Description
14 linear feet