Liang Yi Museum curator Bonnie Lau and UMAG director Dr. Florian Knothe will guide you through the temporary special exhibition Great Minds Think Alike, currently presented in collaboration with Gallerie Kraemer, in Hong Kong’s recently opened and formidably presented private furniture museum. Experts of Chinese and French furniture, our guides will introduce the display of juxtaposed Chinese and French eighteenth-century pieces and explain the similarities and differences in design, material usage and manufacturing techniques.
For centuries, Europeans were enthusiastic about Chinese works of art they knew through rare imports and royal gifts. The French loved and assimilated Chinese art objects, pictorial themes and patterns, and sometimes turned them into French objets d’art by using lacquer panels on indigenous furniture or mounting porcelain vases with gilt bronze mounts. As much as the original Asian objects stimulated their imagination, the shape and décor of Chinese furniture found admirers and imitators in Paris, and increasing numbers of Western homes incorporated chinoiserie design in their interior decoration.
Dr. Florian Knothe studies and teaches the history of decorative arts in the 17th and 18th centuries with particular focus on the social and historic importance of royal French manufacture. He has long been interested in the early modern fascination with Chinoiserie and the way royal workshops and smaller private enterprises helped to create and cater to this long-lasting fashion. Dr. Knothe is currently working on the scientific developments of glassmaking in Qing China, bringing together results from both historical and chemical analysis.
Dr. Knothe is the Director of the University Museum and Art Gallery and has honorary appointments in the University’s Fine Arts department as well as in the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences. Dr. Knothe started his career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art focusing on European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Later, Dr. Knothe was the curator of European glass at The Corning Museum of Glass overseeing the European and East Asian departments. There, he organized an exhibition on East Meets West, and afterward, lectured internationally on cross-cultural influences in art and workshop practices in Western Europe and East Asia.
Bonnie Lau joined the Liang Yi Museum at its inception and is in charge of the guided museum visits and organises its public lecture programmes. Majoring in business, she has extensive knowledge of Chinese furniture and cabinet making techniques as well as the traditional furniture business in Hong Kong.