Authenticity and the Copy: Analyzing Western Connoisseurship of Chinese Painting through the Works of Zhang Daqian
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This thesis examines conflicting attitudes regarding artistic authenticity and differing approaches to connoisseurship vis-à-vis the field of Chinese art and its reception in Europe and North America. Although this thesis examines both Chinese and Western approaches to the copy and highlights different cultural methods, this is not a Chinese versus the West argument. This thesis displays how concepts are combined in the Western art field to reach differing conclusions about a painting's authenticity. Specifically, this thesis analyzes the art of Chinese painter Zhang Daqian (1899-1983) and the debate surrounding Along the Riverbank, a painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection attributed to 10th century Chinese painter Dong Yuan (c. 934-c. 962). Many believe this painting is one of Zhang's forgeries. The controversies surrounding Zhang's art and forgeries reveal diverging conceptions of art education and methods of determining authenticity and the complexities of evaluating Chinese art in non-Chinese academic contexts.