New Book | Siting China in Germany

Posted in books by Editor on August 20, 2019

From Penn State UP (available in October). . .

Christiane Hertel, Siting China in Germany: Eighteenth-Century Chinoiserie and Its Modern Legacy (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2019), 304 pages, ISBN: 978-0271082370, $125.

Chinoiserie—the use of motifs, materials, and techniques considered ‘Chinese’ in ceramics, furniture, interior design, and landscape architecture—has often been associated with courtly decadence and shallow escapism. In Siting China in Germany, Christiane Hertel challenges conventional assumptions about this art form by developing a fresh, complex perspective on collections, gardens, and literature in the long eighteenth century.

From the extraordinary porcelain palaces at Dresden and Rastatt and the gardens of Wilhelmsthal and Wilhelmshöhe in Kassel to the literary and artistic translation practices in Dresden and Thomas Mann’s historical novel Lotte in Weimar, Hertel interprets the extensive history of chinoiserie within but also beyond court culture. In particular, her study focuses on how manifestations of chinoiserie in Germany oscillated between the imagination, judgment, and critique of cultural and historical difference as well as identity. Hertel’s erudite analysis of the cultural significance of German chinoiserie will interest art historians and scholars of Orientalism, German Sinophilia, and German Sinophobia.

Christiane Hertel is Professor Emerita of History of Art at Bryn Mawr College. She is the author of several books, including Pygmalion in Bavaria: The Sculptor Ignaz Günther and Eighteenth-Century Aesthetic Art Theory, also published by Penn State University Press.

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