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Series Overview:

The histories of collecting and the art market are essential to advancing provenance research. Art dealers and collectors, both private and public, 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 systems of meaning. Hidden Networks: The Trade of Asian Art is a series of webinars that seeks to foreground this understanding of provenance and reveal the complex structure of the market for Asian art from the 19th to 20th century. The series is co-organized by the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, and the Zentralarchiv and Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin—Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz).

Each webinar focuses on dealers and collectors of Asian art. Some webinars will be in-depth explorations of individual companies and dealers, while others will focus on the impact of groups of collectors and dealers. Webinars feature keynote presentations by subject-matter experts, museum spotlights on objects connected to specific dealers and collectors, and opportunities for lively question and answer sessions. The webinars are geared toward specialists in the field, including—but not limited to—museum curators of Asian art, art market professionals, academic art historians, archeologists, and provenance specialists. This series will ignite conversation and encourage international research collaboration.

Hidden Networks: The Trade of Asian Art is part of a larger collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) that seeks to cultivate the global network of provenance researchers and promote the exchange of information. For each webinar, a third institution will join the National Museum of Asian Art and the Zentralarchiv and Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) for the planning and execution of the event.


Learn more about upcoming workshops and watch past programs below.
Additional webinars will be announced in spring 2021.


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