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Daisy Yiyou Wang. Papa’s Pagoda in Paris: The Gift of the C. T. Loo Family Photographs to the Freer and Sackler Galleries

The life and career of C. T. Loo (Loo Ching-Tsai or Lu Qinzhai; 1880-1957) constitute a major chapter in the history of collecting Chinese art in the first half of the 20th century (Wang, 2007 and 2011). In 2010, his daughter Janine Loo Pierre-Emmanuel of Paris bequeathed to the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives a collection of 52 photographic prints from her family album (Loo Family Photographs), shedding new light on the complex circulation history of Chinese antiquities in China, Europe and the US. Twenty-one of the prints are originals documenting the interior and exterior of C. T. Loo’s Paris gallery, known as ‘la Pagode’. Eight prints are dated to 1928, when the gallery first opened. In addition to capturing the original architectural splendour of the gallery, these images allow us to identify some of the acquisitions of sculptures, bronzes and murals made by major collectors and museums, including Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987); the Freer Gallery of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; and the Musée Guimet. In this collection, a few intimate portraits of Loo, his family and associates provide a glimpse of his public and private world from the 1910s to the 1950s.

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