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The Frank Caro/C.T. Loo Archive: Treasures of the Eye and the Mind

Authors: Kawami, Trudy S.
Keywords: Caro, Frank;Loo, C. T.;photo archives;Chinese art;photography
Issue Date: 23-Feb-2011
Abstract: The Frank Caro/C. T. Loo Archive is a two-fold treasure. It preserves a visual record of Chinese art in North America from the 1930s through the 1960s as it passed through the hands of the premier dealer of Chinese art, C. T. Loo, and his successor Frank Caro. Encompassing Shang bronzes, Buddhist sculpture, Song paintings and Ching Dynasty decorative objects, it is a panorama of master works now in public collections across the country and an incomparable document of provenance. In addition, the archive preserves at least part of its original structure: index cards of works sold and unsold in several iterations of the business; huge (and fragile) glass negatives of photos from the 1930s apparently from C. T. Loo's Paris establishment; hundreds of celluloid negatives with the dimensions and purchasers carefully noted on the frail glassine sleeves, and a card file recording the shift of works from the Loo numbering systems to the Caro system. These records allow one to trace the business of Chinese art in the 20th century as well as its aesthetic appreciation. At present un-indexed and without cross-references, the archive yields its information only to the most tenacious researcher. This archive can now be found at the Musee Guimet. For more information please email
Description: Conference paper presented March 25-26, 2011. This archive can now be found at the Musee Guimet. For more information please email
Rights: Copyright Trudy S. Kawami, 2011.
Appears in Collections:Photo Archives and the Photographic Memory of Art History, part III

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