C.T. Loo Revisited
New Sources & Perspectives on the Market for Asian Art in the 20th Century

Thursday December 3, 2020
8:30 am–12:00 pm (Washington, DC)
2:30–6:00 pm (Berlin/Zurich)
9:30 pm–1:00 am (Shanghai)

Register online
(limited number of participants)



The histories of collecting and the art market are essential to advancing provenance research. Art dealers play an eminent role in cultivating new tastes, desires, and market trends. Provenance research, therefore, is more than an effort to document an object’s different owners; provenance research includes the work of uncovering the mechanisms behind translocations, understanding the transformation of material culture, and exploring the production of knowledge within different worlds and meaning systems.

C.T. Loo was one of the most important dealers of Chinese and Southeast Asian art of the first half of the twentieth century, with branches in Paris and New York that supplied museums and private collectors worldwide. While he was most active between 1910 and 1950, Loo’s legacy lives on, as objects that he introduced to the West continue to circulate on the art market. Loo advanced the knowledge of Chinese and Southeast Asian Art in Europe and the United States by introducing new objects, such as archaic bronzes, ancient jades, Buddhist sculpture, and early pottery, to a new clientele. Despite his prominent role in the history of East and Southeast Asian collections, C.T. Loo and his activities have not yet sufficiently been researched and documented. In particular, Western literature does not yet have knowledge about Loo’s trade networks and suppliers in Asia.

This webinar will be a decisive step toward closing this gap. Speakers will include Chinese archaeologists, museum curators, academic art historians, and provenance specialists as well as the director of La Maison Loo in Paris. Ultimately, “C.T. Loo Revisited” will promote an exchange of new research, will highlight new resources, and will bring together the many professionals who are researching C.T. Loo.

This program is co-organized by the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art; Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; and Museum Rietberg, Zurich.

Organized by:

  • Joanna M. Gohmann, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, DC
  • Christine Howald, Zentralarchiv/Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Alexandra von Przychowski & Esther Tisa Francini, Museum Rietberg, Zurich


8:30-8:40 am (EST): Welcome & Introduction

  • Christine Howald, Provenance Researcher Asia Collections, Zentralarchiv/Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz

8:40–9:00 am (EST):  Invitation to the Pagoda Paris

  • Jacqueline Baroness von Hammerstein-Loxten, Director of the Pagoda Paris

9:00–9:10 am (EST): Questions & Discussion

  • Moderated by Esther Tisa Francini, Head of the Archives and Provenance Research, Museum Rietberg

9:10–9:45 am (EST): The Influence of C.T. Loo

  • An Introduction to C.T. Loo and His Many Businesses
    Joanna M. Gohmann, World War II-Era Provenance Researcher, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
  • C.T. Loo in Chinese Publications and His Business Network
    Yun XIE, Research Intern, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

9:45–10:00 am (EST): Questions & Discussion

  • Moderated by Alexandra von Przychowski, Curator for the Arts of China and the Himalayan Region, Museum Rietberg

10:00–10:10 am (EST): Coffee & Tea Break

10:10–10:15 am (EST): Introduction to Museum Spotlights

  • Esther Tisa Francini, Head of the Archives and Provenance Research, Museum Rietberg

10:15–10:55 am (EST): Museum Spotlights Part I: Objects Sold by C.T. Loo and His Businesses

  • British Museum, London, United Kingdom
    Yi CHEN, Visiting Researcher and Former Curator of Early China at the British Museum
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, United States
    Victoria Reed, Monica S. Sadler Curator of Provenance
  • Museum Rietberg, Zurich, Switzerland
    Alexandra von Przychowski, Curator for the Arts of China and the Himalayan Region
  • The Burrell Collection, Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Nick Pearce, Richmond Chair of Fine Arts, University of Glasgow

10:55–11:00 am (EST): Break

11:00–11:40 pm (EST): Museum Spotlights Part II: Objects Sold by C.T. Loo and His Businesses

  • Musée Cernuschi, Paris, France
    Eric Lefebvre, Director and Chief Curator
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
    Mackenzie Mallon, Provenance Specialist
    & Ling-En LU, Associate Curator of Chinese Art
  • Victoria & Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom
    Xiaoxin LI, Curator of Asia
  • Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, DC, United States
    Keith Wilson, Curator of Ancient Chinese Art

11:40–11:55 pm (EST): Questions & Discussion

  • Moderated by Christine Howald, Zentralarchiv/Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

11:55–12:00 pm (EST): Closing Remarks

  • Joanna M. Gohmann, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery


Yi CHEN received her PhD in Chinese archaeology from the University of Oxford. She is a former curator of early China and now a visiting researcher at the British Museum. In addition, she is an academic advisor of the Dresden Porcelain Project of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Before she joined the British Museum in 2015, she was the Christensen Fellow in Chinese Painting at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in Oxford.

Joanna M. Gohmann received her PhD in the History of Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the World War II-era provenance researcher at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. Before coming to the Freer and Sackler, she was the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Post-Doctoral Fellow in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art at the Walters Art Museum. Gohmann is particularly interested in the history of collecting and artistic exchanges between China and the eighteenth-century French court.

Born in Hannover, Germany,  Jacqueline Baroness von Hammerstein-Loxten earned a diploma in hotel management and started an international career. In 2010, she was appointed the director of La Maison Loo, Paris, the legendary Chinese pagoda in the heart of Paris, and led efforts to bring the abandoned building back to life. Since 2012, La Maison Loo hosts exclusive events, private exhibitions, and serves as a platform for international relations, discussions, and cultural exchanges. Furthermore, the Baroness von Hammerstein-Loxten has been organizing and preserving the business archives of C.T. Loo: his photograph collection and his correspondence, which represents over fifty years of his business activities with collectors, renown institutions, and international researchers. She has a unique insight into the fascinating life of C.T. Loo, who until now has been a complete enigma and therefore subject to speculation and misinterpretation. The Foundation Prince Louis de Polignac presented the Baroness von Hammerstein-Loxten with the Medal of Honor, recognizing her work in restoring and preserving French heritage. She is a member of several boards of directors of organizations and foundations that all have an interest in architectural preservation and cultural heritage.

Christine Howald, PhD in History, is a provenance researcher for the Asia collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin) at the Zentralarchiv (Central Archive) and heads the research focus Tracing East Asian Art (TEAA) at the Technische Universität Berlin. Her projects focus on the investigation of colonial withdrawal contexts in Asia and the European market for East Asian art in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Christine is the co-founder of the international network and workshop series Provenance Research on East Asian Art. She has published on the marketing of the Yuanmingyuan loot in Paris and London in the 1860s and is co-editor of the volume Acquiring Cultures: Histories of World Art on Western Markets (De Gruyter, 2018) and two issues of the Journal for Art Market Studies, “Asian Art: Markets, Provenance, History” (Vol. 2, No. 3, 2018) and “Asian Art: The Formation of Collections” (Vol. 4, No. 2, 2020).

Since 2015, Eric Lefebvre has been the director of the Musée Cernuschi, the museum of the Asian arts of Paris. He holds a doctorate in art history from Sorbonne University, with a dissertation on Ruan Yuan’s collections as an example of the transmission of cultural heritage in pre-modern China. He specializes in the history of collecting Chinese art in late imperial China and modern Europe, and the history of the Chinese artistic presence in Paris in the twentieth century. From 2004 to 2015 he was in charge of the Chinese collections at the Musée Cernuschi and from 2013 to 2015 he was curator of Chinese paintings and calligraphy at the Musée Guimet.  He has curated numerous exhibitions, most recently Walasse Ting: The Flowers Thief (Paris, 2017), Fragrances from China: The Culture of Incense in Imperial China (Paris, 2018), and Song of Spring: Pan Yuliang in Paris (Hong-Kong, 2018).

 Xiaoxin LI is curator of Chinese collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Having recently curated Blanc de Chine, a Continuous Conversation (2019), her current focus is developing the museum’s expertise and collection in contemporary Chinese studio craft. Formerly a collections assistant at Durham University’s Oriental Museum, she curated the Malcolm MacDonald Gallery of Chinese Art and Archaeology.

Ling-en LU earned her PhD in art history from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. Her research focused on Chinese painting and Buddhist art. Recently she extended her study to Chinese decorative arts as well as collection history. She currently serves as associate curator of Chinese art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. In this role, she assumes a full range of duties for the museum collection, including research and publications for East Asian art, as well as organizing exhibitions.

MacKenzie Mallon is the provenance specialist at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where she works alongside the curatorial department to research the provenance of the museum’s collection. She curated the exhibition Discriminating Thieves: Nazi-Looted Art and Restitution (2019) and her most recent publication is the essay “Laying the Foundation: Harold Woodbury Parsons and the Making of an American Museum” in Art Markets, Agents and Collectors: Collecting Strategies in Europe and the USA: 1550–1950 (Bloomsbury Publishing, forthcoming). MacKenzie is a frequent speaker and moderator at provenance research-related programs.

Professor Nick Pearce holds the Richmond Chair of Fine Art at the University of Glasgow, where he specializes in the arts of China. His career has spanned both museums and universities. He has held positions at the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, and at Durham and Edinburgh universities. He joined the University of Glasgow in 1998 where he has held the positions of head of History of Art and head of the School of Culture & Creative Arts. He is currently a Smithsonian research associate. His research interests include photographers and photography in late nineteenth-century China and aspects of the collecting of Chinese art in the West during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries, including provenance research. He has numerous publications to his name, most recently a volume jointly edited with Jane Milosch, Collecting and Provenance: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019).

Alexandra von Przychowski is curator for the arts of China and the Himalayan region at the Museum Rietberg. She joined the museum in 1997 after completing her studies in East Asian art history and sinology at Heidelberg University, and has since participated in several exhibition projects, ranging from scholar rocks and archeological material from the Liao dynasty to devotional objects from the Cultural Revolution and comics. In 2015 she curated The Magic of Characters: 3000 Years of Chinese Calligraphy and has recently curated Longing for Nature: Reading Landscapes in Chinese Art (2020).

Victoria S. Reed, PhD, is the Sadler Curator for Provenance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). In this role, she is responsible for the research and documentation of the provenance of the MFA’s encyclopedic collection, the review of potential acquisitions and loans, and the development of due diligence policies and practice throughout the curatorial division. Reed has lectured widely and published extensively on matters related to provenance research. She received her MA and PhD in art history at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and her BA in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College.

Esther Tisa Francini is head of the Archives and provenance research at the Museum Rietberg in Zurich. She studied history in Zurich and Paris, and specialized in the history of museums, collecting, and the art market. She has curated several exhibitions, including From Buddha to Picasso: The Collector Eduard von der Heydt and Dada Africa: The Dialogue with the Other and The Question of Provenance: Unwrapping Collection History. She is a member since 2001 of the International Association for Provenance Research. A main research focus lies within the interdisciplinary research project “Hans Himmelheber – African Art and Entangled Knowledge Production” (2018–2022) with the University of Zurich. She is also preparing an exhibition project opening in 2022 about provenances as a contact zone, for which she is working on crucial object biographies.

A specialist in Chinese antiquities, J. Keith Wilson completed his PhD coursework at Princeton University after receiving MAs in Chinese art and archaeology from both the University of Michigan and Princeton. He was appointed curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art (1988–1996) and chief curator of Asian art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1996–2006). Since joining the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, in 2006, he has reinstalled the ancient Chinese art galleries in the Freer Gallery, launched a comprehensive digital catalogue dedicated to the museum’s early jade collections, and curated numerous exhibitions. Also interested in Chinese and Korean Buddhist art, Wilson co-organized Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan (2011) and initiated a digital imaging and research tool dedicated to the Freer Gallery’s renowned Cosmic Buddha, the subject of the monographic exhibition entitled Body of Devotion (2016–2017) and now an online feature.

Yun Xie is an MA student in art history at Utrecht University.. She received her BA in art history from the University of Amsterdam. Currently, she is a research intern for the provenance research team for the Asian collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin). The projects in which she is involved focus on Chinese export arts, the western market for East Asian art in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and Nazi-looted art.