Stephanie Su
Assistant Professor • History of Asian Art
Art History

Stephanie Su is an East Asian art historian. Her research interests include the Sino-Japanese relationship, global modernism, historiography, history of collecting and exhibition, materiality of colors and print culture.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Before coming to CU Boulder, she was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for Cultures of Conservation at the Bard Graduate Center in New York, and the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures at the University of East Anglia in UK. Besides researching, she has actively curated exhibitions, such as the special exhibition, Art Elements: Materials, Motive, and Meaning at the CU Art Museum​Appropriation and Transformation: the Exploration of Painting by Chinese Artists Studied Abroad in the Early Twentieth Century at the He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen, China (2015-16), for which she was the Assistant Curator.

Currently she is working on two projects. Her book manuscript, titled History Painting Crossing Borders: A Transnational History of Modern Art in Early Twentieth Century China and Japan, examines how ancient China was reimagined to be an idealized cultural entity that accommodated divergent discourse on civilizations, cultural identities and nationhood. Her book sheds new light on how regional identity and historical connections across East Asia led to the formation of modern nations and arts.

Her second book project, Color Matters: Materiality, Modernity, and Transmedia Aesthetics in 20th century Japanese Art, examines the formation of modern art in Japan through the lens of color. From pigments to concepts, her book reveals the intertwined relationship between artistic creation, scientific development, cultural imagination and transcultural exchanges, and will contribute to the larger field of global color studies. Her third book project, Recycle and Rebirth: The Im/materiality of Washi Paper in Contemporary Japanese Art, explores the ways contemporary Japanese artists reimagine the materiality of washi paper. Washi, acknowledged by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity, is often presented globally as a traditional craft and emblem of Japanese identity. Her project aims to reshape the public perception of washi by highlighting its innovation in the hands of female artists.

Her researched have received support from the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, Japan Foundation, Association for Asian Studies, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cultures of Conservation, Japan Art History Forum, among others.

Selected publications:

  • History Painting Crossing Borders: A Transnational History of Modern Art in Early 20th Century China and Japan. Leiden: Brill. (under review}

  • “Redefining Femininity in Imperial Japan: The Chinese Female Body in Uemura Shōen’s Work Yōkihi (1922),” special issue on “Imperial Intersectionalities: Reorienting Japanese Art History,” Japan Forum (forthcoming).

  • “Le voyage au Japon et la question de la modernisation de la peinture,” L’encre en mouvement : Une histoire de la peinture chinoise au XXe siècle, edited by Éric Lefebvre and Mael Bellec, 53-69. Paris: Paris Musées, 2022.
  • “Exhibition as Art Historical Space: Narratives in the 1933 Chinese Art Exhibition in Paris,” The Art Bulletin 103, no. 3 (September 2021): 125-148.
  • “Mimetic Desire and Expressive Colors: New Directions in Modern Chinese Ink Art,” Fantastic Brush: 20th Century Chinese Ink Arts from the Robert and Lisa Kessler Collection, edited by Tianlong Jiao, 28-35. Denver: Denver Art Museum (2021).
  • “Sensuous Past: Historical Imagination and Transmedia Aesthetics in Modern China,” Frontier of Literary Studies in China 2019, 13(3): 440-474. 
  • Foolish Man Moving the Mountain: The International Significance of a Chinese Fable,” (愚公移山:中国寓言的国际性意义), Art Magazine (美术杂志), vol. 633, September 2020. 
  • “Weaving Art, Science, and Modern Design: Keinen’s Painting Album of Flowers and Birds,” in Kimono in Print: 300 Years of Japanese Design, edited by Vivian Li (Leiden: Hotei Publishing, 2020).
  • “Toward a Global History of Art: Recent Studies on Twentieth Century Japanese Art,” (book review), Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 77, issue 1, 2018.   
  • “Xu Beihong.” Grove Encyclopedia of Asian Art, edited by Sonya Lee. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).  
  • “现代中国美术中的日本因素:兼论20世纪中日美术史海外研究现状” (The Element of Japan in Modern Chinese Art: Overseas Research on Early Twentieth Century Chinese and Japanese Art), 艺术探索 (Art Exploration), issue 1, 2018. 
  • “陈树人与日本现代花鸟画的改革” (Chen Shuren and the Reform of Bird-and-Flower Painting in Japan,” in Passing Through Fusang: The Reform of Painting by Chinese Artists Studied in Japan, 1905-1937. Guangzhou: Lingnan Publisher, May 2018.  
  • “在世界史语境下重构中国艺术典范:试论徐悲鸿1933年在法国期刊发表的〈中国绘画史〉一文” (Reconstructing Aesthetic Paradigms in a Global Context: on Xu Beihong’s ‘Peinture chinoise’ Published in the French Art Journal in 1933). In Wang Wenjuan, ed., Zhongguo meishu: Shijie yujing (Chinese Art: Global Context). Beijing: Modern Publisher, 2017. 
  • “海外中国美术展览趋势与未来展望” (Recent Trends and Future Directions in Overseas Chinese Art Exhibitions), in the Quarterly Journal of the Henan Art Museum. Zhengzhou: Henan Art Museum. Volume. 15, No. 1, 2016. 
  • “Translating History Painting: Xu Beihong and Confucianism in Modern China,” in Un Maître et ses Maîtres: Xu Beihong et la peinture académique française. Exhibition catalogue. Beijing: Xu Beihong Memorial Art Museum, May 2014.
  • “徐悲鸿在日本:现代中国绘画再思考” (Xu Beihong in Japan: Reconsidering Modern Chinese Art), in Meishu (Art Monthly), October 2013.
  • “Classicizing Creative Prints: Yamamoto Kanae in France.” In Anne Leonard, ed. Awash in Color: French and Japanese Prints, exhibition catalogue. Chicago: Smart Museum of Art, 2012.
  • “Ruins as Sites of Modernity: Yan Wenliang’s Representation of Roman Ruins in 1930,” Modern Art Asia, vol. 5, November 2010. Reprinted in Majella Munro ed., Modern Art Asia, Issues 1-8. Cambridge, UK: Enzo Arts and Publishing Limited. 2012.
  • Chinese version: “廢墟作為現代性場域:顏文梁1930年代作品中的羅馬古跡再現”, in Five Hundred Years of Chinese Oil Painting 1542-2000.  Changsha: Hunan Art Publisher, December 2014.