The Institute for Japanese Studies and Department of History of Art present:
"Photography/Realism/War: The Case of the First Sino-Japanese War, 1894-95"
University of Chicago
Abstract: The First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) was the first Japanese war with embedded photographers to document the conflict. The crisp photographs, once they had been developed and printed in Japan, seemed to testify to what an Illustrated London News reporter called the “essentially modern and business-like method” of the Japanese offensive.1 Shortly after the war’s conclusion, the Japanese government sent a monumental hand-woven tapestry of the Aoi Matsuri (Aoi Festival) to the widow of Secretary of State Walter Q. Gresham, the American diplomat who had facilitated the treaty negotiations with Qing China. While the tapestry and the surviving corpus of war photographs might seem to represent opposite ends of the spectrum of art of the Meiji era (1868-1912), together they help us evaluate the “truth claims” and political agendas of late nineteenth-century Japanese art. Download the PDF flyer here.
1ILN quoted in Rhiannon Paget, “Imagery of Japan’s Modern Wars in the Western Media,” in Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan (St. Louis Art Museum, 2016), 57.
Chelsea Foxwell is Associate Professor of Art History, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College, and Director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago. She received her PhD in 2008 from Columbia University. She is the author of Making Modern Japanese Painting: Kano Hōgai and the Search for Images (2015) and co-author and co-curator (with Anne Leonard) of Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints (Smart Museum of Art, 2012). Foxwell has recently co-edited (with Wu Hung) a volume of essays on East Asian photography and is currently at work on a book that examines the origins of modern Japanese art in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She is the recipient of grants from the Japanese Ministry of Education, the Japan Foundation, Getty Research Institute, Franke Institute for the Humanities, and the Institute for International Education (Fulbright Scholar).
Free and Open to the Public
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This event is supported by a U.S. Department of Education Title VI grant to The Ohio State University East Asian Studies Center.