UA Art Historian’s New Book Reveals Overlooked Women’s Contributions to Chinese Modern Art

Assistant Professor Dr. Doris Sung, Asian art history, published a new book, Women of Chinese Modern Art: Gender and Reforming Traditions in National and Global Spheres, 1900s–1930s with De Gruyter.

Bringing to light the largely overlooked female participation in domestic and international art worlds, this book offers the first comprehensive study of how women embroiderers, traditionalist calligraphers and painters, including Shen Shou, Wu Xingfen, Jin Taotao, and members of Chinese Women’s Society of Calligraphy and Painting, shaped the terrain of the modern art world and of gender positioning during China’s important moments of social-cultural transformation from empire to republic.

Drawing on a wealth of previously unexhibited artworks, rare artist’s monographs, women’s journals, personal narratives, diaries, and catalogs of international expositions, Sung’s research reveals women’s significant roles as guardians and innovators of traditionalist art forms for a modern nation and shows their contribution to cultural diplomacy and revaluation of Chinese artistic heritage on the international stage in the early twentieth century.

Dr. Doris Sung

Sung received four grants in support of the publication: the William R. Levin Award for Research in the History of Art (honorary mention), the College Art Association Millard Meiss Publication Grant, the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies Individual Grant, and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange Publication Subsidy Grant.

Doris Sung is an assistant professor of art history at The University of Alabama. She has published book chapters and articles on Chinese women artists active in the 20th and 21st centuries and is a contributor of articles on modern and contemporary Chinese art to Grove Art/Oxford Art Online. She is a co-principal investigator of “Global Makers: Women Artists in the Early Modern Courts,” a digital humanities project to encourage and support sustained, interdisciplinary consideration of the role Early Modern women played in the hands-on production of visual and material culture in the courts of Europe and Asia (c. 1400-1750). She is one of the research leaders of the international “TEAM (Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring)” for AWARE (Archives of Women Artists Research and Exhibitions).

To find out more about The University of Alabama’s programs in studio art and art history, visit our Degree Programs page.