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Full Access Reforming Connoisseurship: State and Collectors in Shanghai in the 1950s and 1960s

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Reforming Connoisseurship: State and Collectors in Shanghai in the 1950s and 1960s

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This paper examines the relationship between the state and art collectors during the 1950s and 1960s in Shanghai. It explores how the state gained control over art and collecting, by building state museums, by co-opting connoisseurs and their collections, and by extending “socialist transformation” to the antiquities market in 1956. However, state control was far from complete, and some trade in antiquities continued outside of official channels. To crack down on this illegal trade, cultural authorities in Shanghai launched a Five-Antis Campaign in 1964 to punish alleged art speculators. Through its cultural institutions and political campaigns, the state controlled culture but did not monopolize it.


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