Julia Orell is a historian of Chinese art, specializing in landscape painting of the Song and Yuan dynasties. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago, has taught at the University of Zurich, and held postdoctoral fellowships at the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles) and Academia Sinica (Taipei). In 2021 she was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Orell teaches a broad range of Chinese visual and material culture, from ancient tombs to modern and contemporary art.
Orell’s primary area of research in Chinese landscape painting focuses on the depiction and construction of place in painting and other visual media, interrogating the role of painting in the production of knowledge and its entanglement with historical geography and cartography. Her second area of research addresses the formation of East Asian art history as an academic discipline in the German-speaking parts of Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She explores the challenges East Asian art presented to art historical methodologies and offers a historiographical perspective to debates about global art history.
Among her publications are articles in the Journal of Art Historiography and in the edited volumes The Itineraries of Art: Topographies of Artistic Mobility in Europe and Asia 1500-1900 (Fink 2015), The Making of the Humanities, Volume III: The Modern Humanities (Amsterdam University Press, 2014), and Memorial Landscapes: World Images East and West (De Gruyter 2020). She is currently completing a book manuscript on Place, Site, Region, and Empire in Landscape Painting and Cartography of Song China.
Chinese art and historiography