Department of Art History and Art

Noelle Giuffrida
Assistant Professor of East Asian Art

Ph.D. University of Kansas, 2008
M.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A. Vassar College

Go to Dr. Giuffrida's CV

Professor Giuffrida is a specialist in East Asian art. Her main areas of research are the history of collecting and exhibiting Chinese art in twentieth-century America and the visual culture of Daoism in Ming and early Qing China (fifteenth to seventeenth centuries). Her teaching interests also include Buddhist painting and sculpture; modern and contemporary Chinese and Japanese art; Chinese and Japanese painting (twelfth to eighteenth centuries); the historiography of Chinese painting scholarship; and the history of collecting and exhibiting Chinese and Japanese art in the United States, Great Britain, and Europe.

Prof. Giuffrida’s recent research focuses on collecting and exhibiting Chinese painting in postwar America. Her chapter “The Right Stuff: Chinese Art Treasures’ Landing in Early 1960s America” appears in the edited book The Reception of Chinese Art Across Cultures (Cambridge Scholars Press, forthcoming 2013). Her essay unravels the inner history of the first major post-war exhibition of Chinese painting from the National Palace Museum in Taiwan that travelled to five American museums, by looking at the timing, composition, and presentation of the show, considering how and why each affected public and scholarly reception in early 1960s America. Prof. Giuffrida’s current book project Separating Sheep from Goats: Sherman E. Lee's Collecting, Exhibitions, and Canon of Chinese Painting in Postwar America examines the activities of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s renowned Director and Curator of “Oriental” Art. Many of Lee’s most pioneering and lasting contributions, that established himself and the museum’s collection as preeminent in the field of Chinese painting, can be traced to the 1950s and 1960s. She goes behind the scenes to investigate the networks, circumstances, and strategies that enabled Lee to successfully acquire, present, and promote Chinese painting during the dynamic postwar decades. Her book untangles the complex web of relationships between Lee, dealers, and private collectors including Walter Hochstadter, Nat Hammer, Richard Hobart, and Frank Caro, as well as other curators and scholars such as James Cahill, Aschwin Lippe, and Laurence Sickman. By exploring Lee’s pivotal role in art markets, exhibitions, and scholarship at midcentury, Giuffrida’s book brings to light a critical, yet largely neglected, chapter in the history of collecting and exhibiting East Asian art in the West. Her article “Paintings, Politesse, and Petromania: Sherman E. Lee and the Art and Archaeology Delegation Trip to China in 1973” (Archives of American Art Journal, Summer 2013) explores one of the earliest and most significant scholarly visits to post-revolutionary China and a major event in the history of Chinese art through the lens of Lee’s extensive diary and role as chairman of the group.

Prof. Giuffrida’s recent research also addresses visual narratives and portraits of Daoist figures in sculpture, paintings, and woodblock printed books during the fifteenth to seventeenth century. Her chapter “Transcendence, Thunder, and Exorcism: Images of the Daoist Patriarch Zhang Daoling in Paintings and Prints” is included in the edited volume On Telling Images of China: Essays on Narrative Painting and Visual Culture (Hong Kong University Press, forthcoming 2013). Her other ongoing work investigates visual narratives of apotheosis, ascension, and intervention associated with the Chinese Daoist God Zhenwu [the Perfected Warrior] in sculpture, paintings, and woodblock printed books during the fifteenth to seventeenth century. Her research looks at the appeal of particular hagiographic episodes and how artists and patrons represented these stories in multiple media. Prof. Giuffrida is also working on a comparative study of Ming and Qing pictorial images of Daoist immortal patriarchs Xu Xun and Lu Dongbin. She investigates the roles of pictures in signifying presence, authority and efficacy, mediating viewers’ knowledge and experience of these figures and how such images served to project Lu and Xu’s shifting Daoist and popular identities in late imperial China.

Prior to joining the department at CWRU in 2009, Prof. Giuffrida taught at Vassar College and The College of New Jersey. She also served as a curatorial researcher and museum educator at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has received several awards and her research has been supported a number of sources including The Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation and the American Oriental Society. She has been invited to present her research at national and international conferences, workshops, and colloquia including the Association for Asian Studies, College Art Association, and International Daoist Studies.