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Chinese reverse glass painting 1720-1820

An artistic meeting between China and the West. Preface by Danielle Elisseeff

Thierry Audric

Displaying a talent for combining aesthetic sensibility with scientific rigor, the author has given new life to something that once excited European passions: an original, non-academic art at the forefront of the ‘new technology’ of the time. For decades, aristocrats of the Old World and then American collectors (the latter at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries) spent countless sums on the purchase of these works, which were worth a fortune. These wealthy collectors of curiosities of all types were also most certainly great dreamers seeking a worthy setting for their dreams. Unbeknownst to them, their endeavours had much greater scope, creating and nourishing the conditions for a rare encounter between two worlds: a golden age of atypical collaboration, a combined adventure between China and Europe.

In 1977, Thierry Audric left his position as associate professor in Geology at the École nationale supérieure des Mines in Paris, to start a career as cultural and scientific cooperation counsellor at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His duties led him to live nearly twenty years in Asia, four of which in China where he discovered the fascinating beauty of Chinese reverse glass painting. In 2007, he decided to research this art, and discovered that it was born in the Eighteenth-century in Canton, from an artistic encounter between China and the West. Eager to make this art more widely known and appreciated, he wrote this book based on the dissertation he defended in 2016 at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.