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

Strehlneeks Gallery of Chinese Art – Shanghai

Posted: October 21st, 2016 | 1 Comment »

If you were a true connoisseur of Chinese art in all its forms then Strehlneek’s on Kiangse Road (now Jiangxi Road). The store was the pride and joy of Mr E.A. Strehlneek who also produced a number of exquisite books on Chinese art around the time of the First World War and shortly after – though he stayed in business well into the 1940s. Strehlneek’s Chinese Pictorial Art, published in 1914 in Shanghai by the Commercial Press (and with a text by Florence Ayscough – see the great small biography of her I was involved in publishing some years back) is beautiful and you’ll be lucky to get a copy for under US$650 these days. Some images from the lavishly produced book below.

Strehlneek, born around 1870 in Latvia, came to Shanghai in 1890 as an appraiser in the Chinese Maritime Customs, based in Tientsin (Tianjin). He started dealing in art opening his store in 1910. He made good money selling entire collections of Chinese art to wealthy Shanghailanders or foreign museums. He hosted exhibitions in Shanghai and also, I believe, in Tokyo in the 1920s. Strehlneek was certainly well connected and counted the Swedish art historian and Sinologist Osvald Siren (Strehlneek’s Latvian roots probably gave him a grasp of Swedish and he sold extensively to Swedish collectors all his career) as well as fellow well known dealer in Chinese art Peter Bahr among his close friends. Strehlneek knew Siren quite well and the two met repeatedly between their first meeting in 1908 and his lengthy visit to China in 1922. He maintained close contacts with Chinese artists and was known to them under his Chinese name Shih Te-ni.








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One Comment on “Strehlneeks Gallery of Chinese Art – Shanghai”

  1. 1 Robin said at 7:23 am on October 10th, 2020:

    I just read this page fascinating
    I am looking through my Father’s stuff. His father was Finnish Consul in Shanghai 1932 1945 and a collector of Chinese art. I have found a copy of a Strehlneek book ‘Collection’ which I assume is a book of his collection. Dedicated July 16 1940. It is a lovely book bound in the Chinese style have you come across this edition before? and do you know more about it. Regards Robin Tanner

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