Exploring a Historic Panorama

Dinah Cardin

Kung Tai Studio. Photographic panorama of the Shanghai Bund. Shanghai, China, 1882. Albumen prints. Gift of Mrs. Beverley R. Robinson, 1950. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA. Image credit: Walter Silver.

The world’s second tallest tower is soon to officially open in Shanghai, and with it, a sky-bound branch of China’s Guanfu Museum. To celebrate, several departments at PEM have been working together to make available online a panorama from PEM’s significant collection of 19th-century photographs of China. The museum’s 11-foot photographic panorama of the Shanghai Bund from 1882 was made by Kung Tai Studio and consists of 13 prints joined to form a sweeping view of the Shanghai waterfront. Read more

More than Lobster and Lighthouses


Haskell Island, Casco Bay, Maine, photo by H. S. Follansbee, July 1927

The Pingree family has been involved in shaping the landscape of Maine since shortly after it became a state in 1820.  David Pingree (1795-1863) started buying land in the 1830s and 1840s.  Through the processing of the Pingree papers, I have been able to discover that land in Maine wasn’t just an investment for the family, but a place that brought them personal joy. Read more

Nazi Art Plundering and Post-War Restitution

Kate Clayborne

Répertoire des Biens Spoliés en France Durant la Guerre 1939-1945 / Repatriation of Art from the Collecting Point in Munich After World War II / The Monuments Men / Verlorene Bilder, Verlorene Leben / Art and Power: Europe Under the Dictators

For the past year, a team of librarians and technicians from Backstage Library Works has been cataloging the extensive holdings of the van Otterloo Collection, currently on deposit here at the Peabody Essex Museum’s Phillips Library. As the project manager, I’ve had many beautiful and fascinating items cross my desk – you can see a post highlighting a few of these items here. In that last post, I briefly mentioned Nazi-era auction catalogs as useful means of determining prior ownership and verifying works of art. Using resources available in the van Otterloo Collection, this post will take a look at the tumultuous status of the art world in Europe at that time. We will explore the regulation and looting of art under the Nazi regime, and the attempts at restitution following the war. Read more