© Robin Best%2C Courtesy Adrian Sassoon Ltd.
Porcelain, pigments, silver foilexpand_more
The Alpha Gustafson Endowmentexpand_more 2017.40.1a,b
Since the early 2010s Australian artist Robin Best has made her home in Jingdezhen, China, the city at the center of the porcelain industry for more than 1,000 years. There she has perfected a style of painting in miniature on porcelain. Best draws her subjects from historical narratives and imagery concerned with global trade and cultural exchange among Europe, South and East Asia, and Australia from the 1600s through the 1800s. These five vases are intended to be seen together and read as a story of British imperialism: they allude to the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and the subsequent rise of British naval power; the founding of the East India Company in 1600, which advanced Britain’s trade interests with India and China; and the exploration and colonization of Australia in the late 1700s and 1800s.
These vases show a creative vitality that represents a 21st-century take on traditional Chinese blue-and-white porcelain represented in Mia’s collection. They also relate to Chinese export porcelain made at Jingdezhen, whose designs drew from both East Asian and Western sources made for a non-Chinese clientele. Mia is one of only two U.S. museums to have work by Robin Best in their collections.
© Robin Best, Courtesy Adrian Sassoon Ltd.