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Centre for Museology

Hee Jung Lee

PhD Research

Working title: Exploring visual modernity and national identity in modern China: Fu Baoshi's self-awareness and critical response during the Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945)

The research will investigate the painting of the Chinese artist Fu Baoshi (1904-1965) during the Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945), focusing on his self-awareness and critical response to the Japanese occupation of China. Fu Baoshi's reinterpretation of his Japanese experience in his art and academic research will be analysed as a means of exploring visual modernity and national identity in China. This study will focus on Fu Baoshi from the viewpoint of a transnational perspective on the modernisation of Chinese painting in East Asia.


I am undertaking a full time PhD under the guidance of my two supervisors, Dr Louise Tythacott (Centre for Museology at Manchester University) and Dr. Anne Farrer (East Asian Art, Sotheby's Institute of Art). After completing my MA at Sotheby's Institute of Art, I did an internship first in the Chinese Art Department at Sotheby's Auction House and then at the British Museum. These diverse work experiences have stimulated and inspired me to do more in-depth studies on Chinese art, both academically and practically.  

Along with my current PhD studies, I am interested in the issues of modernity and national identity in the discourse of national painting guohua and transnational visual cultural study in East Asia (China, Korea and Japan) and the West. I hope to discover a more effective way of relating Chinese art history to East Asian (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) art history, or vice versa, across a wider region that goes beyond national boundaries, and be able to apply the insights gained to both my current research and my future career.