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American Art as interpreted by Chinese viewers. Their take is surprisingly refreshing as native landscape painters such as the Hudson River School gain traction 8,000 miles from home.

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I taught American art history for years, and in the coming months I’ll write about how art history, generally, is taught now. I’ll offer a counterintuitive appetizer: How is American art taught in China? How are Chinese scholars learning about American art?

This is a news story and a period piece since the news angle took me down a not-too-winding path to Pearl Buck and then to Thornton Wilder. First, the news. The Edith O’Donnell Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas, the Terra Foundation in Chicago, the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, and Nanjing University in China just launched the new Institute for the Study of American Art in China (ISAAC). Nanjing University inaugurated the new program this week. It’s one of China’s great, old schools.

The program’s still nascent. It means, broadly, to introduce American art to Chinese students. Chinese scholars are visiting American museums during the next few years to learn about American art. It’s intense, and they’ll probably see more American art than most American professors do. The travel and museum-visiting program is designed to override the Chinese penchant to focus on reading books in a library. Professors at Nanjing University will teach courses on American art. There’s a priceless translation component to the program since very little American literature has been translated in Chinese.

To read more on National Review:

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You may also like to read:

* Life Along the Hudson, Book Review: New York's Last Aristocrats

* A Castle From the Hudson Valley is Getting Worldwide Attention

* Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY

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