“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

CT Loo – “But the man himself had always been a mystery”

Posted: April 26th, 2014 | No Comments »

A fascinating piece in this weekend’s Financial Times by David Pilling on CT Loo (below), the Paris-based Chinese antiquities dealer who arrived in France in 1902 and established a reputation as the major dealer in Chinese art and atrefacts in Europe. Very little has ever really been known about Loo for sure – his life has always been a mix of mystery, obfuscation and rumour. I stumbled across his famous pagoda like showroom in Paris many years ago and did eventually visit it properly some time back when in Paris searching for Chinoiserie remnants in the nearby Parc Monseau (see blog post here). Oddly enough CT Loo popped up again recently when I was asked to talk about Peking in 1930 at the Noguchi Museum in New York as part of the events they had organised around their exhibition on Noguchi’s time in Peking studying under Qi Baishi that year.

Here’s my small Loo anecdote then – while in Peking in 1930 the Japanese-American sculptor Noguchi had a small circle of western friends. Among these was the Frenchman Jean-Pierre Dubosc.

Dubosc was attached as a diplomat to the French Legation in Peking and an avid collector of Chinese artefacts. He also happened to be married to Janine Loo, one of CT Loo’s daughters. Dubosc was a habitué of the antique and curio shops of Peking from where he sourced various treasures for European and American museums (most notably the Guimet Museum in Paris, a specialist collection of Asian art) as well as for C.T. Loo’s dealership business.

Anyway, if you read one thing this weekend then this article is the one and it also promises a forthcoming biography of Loo, which I, for one, eagerly await.


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