Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives
Philadelphia Museum of Art Archives

Far Eastern Art Department Records Edit




  • 1924-1990 (Creation)


  • 41.5 linear feet (Whole)

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  • Abstract

    None available.

  • Processing Information

    These materials were arranged and described by Alice Lefton, Bertha Adams and Leslie O'Neill. Funded by a grant from The National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

  • Scope and Content Note

    This department's designation and scope has varied since its inception. Prior to its designation as the Department of Far Eastern Art, the office also operated as the Division of Eastern Art, which consisted of Chinese and Indian art, and the Department of Oriental Art. All three offices are represented in these records, which consist of correspondence, notes, reports, articles, clippings and photographs.

    In 1992 the department name changed again to its current desigation as the Department of East Asian Art. For these later records and a few overlapping files generated in 1991, see "East Asian Art Department Records." See also "Indian Art Department Records," which begin primarily with the arrival of Dr. Stella Kramrisch to the Museum in 1954.

  • Historical Note

    Interest in the arts of the orient had been keen from the time of the International Exposition and the founding of the Museum.

    The first Curator of Oriental Art was Horace H. F. Jayne, a scholar in the field, who came as an Assistant in 1921. From 1923 until 1927 he was the Curator of Oriental Art. In 1927 he became the Chief of the Division of Eastern Art, which he remained until 1936; from 1931 until 1940 he was the Curator of Chinese Art as well. In 1928 Jayne and his Assistant, Isobel Ingram, went to China and Japan to purchase major architectural objects for the Museum, among these were the Japanese Tea House and Temple, a Chinese Temple and Palace Hall. Jayne was also a Director of the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. He returned to PMA in 1953 as Acting Chief of the Division of Eastern Art until 1954.

    From 1931 to 1954 W. Norman Brown was the Curator of Indian Art when it was associated with Eastern Art. Erich Schmidt, from 1931 to 1933, was the Field Director of the Expedition to Persia. Assistants following Ingram were Philip Harding Cate and Lawrence P. Roberts.

    Jean Gordon Lee came to PMA in 1939 as an Assistant in the Division of Eastern Art. In 1942 she was Assistant Curator of Eastern Art, in 1944 she was made an Associate Curator of Eastern Art and in 1947 became the Curator of Chinese Art. From 1949 she was Acting Chief of the Division of Eastern Art as well as the Curator of Chinese Art. In 1955 she became the Curator of the Department of Far Eastern Art until she retired in June 1986. Felice Fischer assumed the position of Assistant Curator in the department in 1974. In 1992, the department took on its current designation of "East Asian Art," with Felice Fischer serving as the Associate Curator. In 1997 the Museum to named Ms. Fischer as the Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art and Curator of East Asian Art, a position she continues to hold.

  • Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research.

  • Use Restrictions

    The Far Eastern Art Department Records are the physical property of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. The Museum holds literary rights only for material created by Museum personnel or given to the Museum with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication and for other purposes where stated.

  • Preferred Citation

    [Item identification and date], [Series info.], Far Eastern Department Records, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives.

  • Related Material

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. Archives. Painting and Sculpture Department Records.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art, Archives. Special Format Records. Architectural Drawings.