Separating Sheep from Goats investigates the history of collecting and exhibiting Chinese art through the lens of the career of renowned American curator and museum director Sherman E. Lee (1918–2008). Drawing upon artworks and archival materials, Noelle Giuffrida excavates an international society of collectors, dealers, curators, and scholars who constituted the art world in which Lee operated. From his early training in Michigan and his work in Occupied Japan as a monuments man to his acquisitions, exhibitions, and publications for museums in Detroit, Seattle, and Cleveland, this study traces how Lee shaped public and scholarly understandings of Chinese art. By examining transnational efforts to collect and present Chinese art and scrutinizing scholarly and museological discourses of the postwar era, this book contributes to the historiography of both Chinese art and American museums.
Noelle Giuffrida is a professor and curator of East Asian art whose research and scholarship focuses on the history of collecting, exhibitions, and scholarship on Chinese art in twentieth-century America and the visual culture of Daoism in late imperial China.
"Noelle Giuffrida's book brings to light a largely missing chapter in the history of Chinese painting studies in America. While curators produce exhibition catalogues that sum up their scholarship, it is their work preparing for and studying works of art in realms outside the academic world (e.g., dealers’ galleries, the homes of private collectors, and museum storerooms) that is often hidden to academic scholars and the public alike. Opening up the intricate structures and illustrating the importance of these realms is one of the many contributions of this book."—Stephen Little, Florence and Harry Sloan Curator of Chinese Art and Head, Chinese, Korean, and South and Southeast Asian Departments, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
"The original content in Noelle Giuffrida's book centers on both the words and the images that facilitated such basic debates as sinology vs. art history by reconstructing the inner history of collecting in postwar America. With primary sources from both museum and family archives and a great number of illustrations, Giuffrida's book is unique in addressing those scholarly debates about 'objects' from a museum studies perspective, an increasingly important branch of art history."—Zaixin Hong, Professor of Art History, University of Puget Sound