An Interview with Ivy Chan

08 Jun 2023

Join us in London from 30 May to 3 June 2023 for our new course, In Pursuit of the Artistic Treasures of East Asia, led by Ivy Chan, a renowned Art Historian . We recently had the privilege of sitting down with Ivy Chan for an interview, where she shared her insights and expertise on East Asian art. 



Please tell us a little about your background and what your role is now.

After working in the Chinese Art Department at Christie’s for over 10 years, I completed a PhD in Chinese Art History and started working as an independent scholar, curator and consultant. Besides curating exhibitions and producing art publications for galleries, museums and private collectors, I also enjoy lecturing and leading new educational courses for organisations like Christie’s Education. It has been a lot of fun to experience all aspects of the art world, from the business side to the academic side.


As a regular guest lecturer at Christie's Education, what is the most rewarding part of teaching for you?

I have been a guest lecturer for Christie’s Education since 2015 and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it, whether it is lecturing in person in London, Hong Kong, or online. The most rewarding part of teaching is being able to present my latest research to students, seeing how it opens up conversation and generates new ideas about art. It is also lovely to meet the wide range of students we have and see their different perspectives on the same subject; they include budding collectors and young newcomers to the art trade, as well as retirees with a general interest in art.


Why is London an ideal city to explore East Asian Art? What is your favorite Asian Art collection in London?

London needs no introduction to anyone interested in art. The city has a long history of collecting Chinese, Japanese and Korean art, with some of the best museums, galleries and private collections dedicated to the subject. Here we have a concentration of leading experts in the field, and ground-breaking new exhibitions such as China’s Hidden Century at the British Museum (May-October 2023) and contemporary artist Fang Lijun’s first ever solo exhibition in the UK at the Mayfair gallery Eskenazi Ltd. (June 2023). My favourite Asian Art collection here is probably the Woolf Collection of Chinese Jades, because its location in an elegant house in Belgravia provides a uniquely British experience, and its focus on top Chinese jade carvings allows visitors to fully appreciate the exquisite jade craftsmanship and natural qualities of this precious stone.


 What are the key aspects of the Course? 

This is a very special course with lectures that will give a broad overview of the artistic treasures of China, Japan and Korea, while handling sessions, VIP tours and discussions with experts will also provide many opportunities to study specific topics and objects in an in-depth manner. We will cover topics ranging from Chinese blue and white porcelain and Japanese woodblock prints, to Korean mother-of-pearl-inlaid lacquerware and global contemporary art!


 Tell us about the learning outcomes - What can the student expect during the course?

Students can expect to gain a good understanding of important materials, artistic styles and time periods in traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean art. They will learn about the fascinating cross-cultural exchanges between the three East Asian countries as seen through their artistic developments, and understand why these traditional art forms are still so inspiring and relevant to contemporary art today.


Can you please give 3 pieces of advice for students who want to pursue a career in Asian Art?

1) Immerse yourself in Asian Art – visit galleries, museums and auction previews regularly.

2) Stay curious, have a critical mind and don’t be afraid to ask questions – why has this object been dated this way and attributed to this specific culture? Why is it valued at a certain price? How does it relate to other art forms?

3) Keep yourself updated by reading reputable sources on the subject and following latest events like major exhibitions and excavations – scholarship evolves and you should try to stay on top of the latest research as much as possible.

To learn more about the course and register please click here