Skip to main content

Asia Week New York Zooms-in on Sherman Lee: Master of Art

Tuesday, September 13th

New York: To celebrate the start of Asia Week New York Autumn 2022, a webinar entitled Sherman Lee: Master of Art will be held on Tuesday, September 13 at 5:00 p.m.  To register click:

Sherman Lee is considered one of the leading Asian art experts in the United States. As director of the Cleveland Museum of Art for twenty- five years, elevated it into the top echelon of American museums. Primarily known for the superb Asian art collection he amassed–including Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhan, circa 600, one of the most important Southeast Asian sculptures in a Western collection–Lee also acquired many major paintings by old masters such as El Greco, Goya and Velazquez. Before landing at the Cleveland Museum in 1952, he was associate director of the Seattle Art Museum and curator of Far Eastern art at the Detroit Institute of Art. After retiring from the Cleveland Museum, he moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina and became adviser and benefactor to the Ackland Art Museum. He was also personal adviser to John D. Rockefeller 3rd on acquisitions for the Asian art collection that he bequeathed to the Asia Society.

Moderated by Dessa Goddard, the chairman of Asia Week New York, the distinguished panel includes:

Noelle Giuffrida–author of Separating Sheep from Goats: Sherman E. Lee’s Collecting of Chinese Art in Postwar America, which is also the title of her presentation–is the Curator of Asian Art, at the David Owsley Museum of Art, and Professor of Art History at Ball State University. In addition to her work there, where she recently completed reinstalling and reinterpreting the Japanese collection at the David Owsley Museum of Art, Giuffrida also serves as a research associate with the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Kansas. Giuffrida’s research focuses on Chinese art, particularly the history of collecting and exhibiting premodern works in American museums after World War II and the visual culture of Daoism in late imperial China. Her teaching and curatorial experience extend broadly both temporally—from Neolithic to contemporary—and cross-culturally to China, Korea, and Japan, as well as to South and Southeast Asia.

Who is in a better position to discuss the work of Sherman Lee than his daughter Katharine Lee Reid?  Reid, who served as director of the Cleveland Museum of Art from 2000-2005, a post her father held from 1958 to 1983, will present Reflections of a Daughter. During her tenure, work began on the museum's extensive expansion and renovation. Reid was director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts from 1991-2000, when she also initiated a large renovation project and significantly expanded the museum's programs and community outreach. Prior to her time at the VMFA, Reid held the posts of assistant and deputy director at the Art Institute of Chicago and curatorial positions at the Ackland Art Museum, the Smart Museum of Art, and the Toledo Museum of Art. During her career, Reid has shared her rich experience on numerous boards and advisory committees.

Mary Ann Rogers received an MPhil in Chinese Art and Archaeology from the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London, and worked toward a PhD in Chinese painting at UC Berkeley. She has balanced a life in the art business with an academic life, contributing to journals and catalogues in Asian Art and culture, teaching in the states and Japan, where she was also affiliated with the Tokyo-based Idemitsu Museum of Arts. Mary Ann and her husband established and operated Kaikodo, from their home in Kita-Kamakura in Japan for well over a decade and then for 25 years in New York City, where their gallery served as a vibrant meeting place for collectors and scholars of Asian Art worldwide. In the wake of the global health crisis, the Rogers relocated all Kaikodo business operations to the Big Island in Hawaii which has long been the center of Kaikodo Journal production and a destination for friends and associates in their field, all making Mary Ann eminently qualified to discuss the legacy of Sherman Lee in A Man for All Seasons.

Rounding out the panel is Peter Nisbet who will discuss Sage in the Bamboo Grove: Sherman E. Lee and the Ackland Art Museum. Nisbet, the deputy director for curatorial affairs at the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, oversees the exhibition program and the permanent collection of over 20,000 objects, including some 1,600 Asian works of art. Before joining the Ackland in 2009, Nisbet held posts at the Busch-Reisinger Museum/Harvard Art Museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery. He holds a BA and MA from Cambridge University and a PhD in the History of Art from Yale University.

In addition to her duties as Chairman of Asia Week New York, Dessa Goddard is Vice President, U.S. Head, Asian Art Group; Senior Specialist, Chinese Art; Senior Specialist, Japanese Art; and the Head of Business Strategy, Global Chinese Paintings, Senior Management Team, Bonhams.

About Asia Week New York

The collaboration of top-tier international Asian art galleries, the major auction houses-Bonhams, Christie’s, Doyle, Heritage Auctions, iGavel, and Sotheby’sand numerous museums and Asian cultural institutions, Asia Week New York is a week-long celebration filled with simultaneous gallery open houses, Asian art auctions as well as numerous museum exhibitions, lectures, and special events. Participants from the United States and countries abroad unveil an extraordinary selection of museum-quality treasures from China, India, the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, Tibet, Nepal, Japan, and Korea.

Asia Week New York Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade membership organization registered with the state of New York. For more information visit @asiaweekny #asiaweekny

About Songtsam, Presenting Sponsor

Continuing as Presenting Sponsor for Asia Week New York is Songtsam Hotels, Resorts & Tours, an award-winning luxury boutique hotel group with thirteen properties (four Linka resort hotels and nine lodges) located in the Chinese provinces of Tibet and Yunnan.  Founded by Baima Duoji, in 2000, the hotel group is the only collection of luxury Tibetan-style retreats found across the Tibetan Plateau that strives to preserve and share the cultures and spirituality of its locale, all the while offering guests sophisticated elegance, refined design, modern amenities, and unobtrusive service in places of natural beauty and cultural interest. For information, visit:

Captions (top to bottom)

Sherman Lee at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 1965. Courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art Archives
Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhan, c. 600. Southern Cambodia, Takeo Province, Phnom Da. Sandstone; overall: 203.1 x 68 x 55.5 cm (79 15/16 x 26 3/4 x 21 7/8 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art, John L. Severance Fund 1973.106. This is one of Sherman Lee's major acquisitions of Indian and Southeast Asian art for the Cleveland Museum of Art and is regarded as one of the most significant Southeast Asian sculptures in a Western collection.