Emily de Wolfe Pettit (艾美丽) is an independent Chinese art specialist and cross-cultural strategist with over ten years’ experience working with artists and institutions within China and the presentation of Chinese art internationally.
Ms Pettit first came to China in the role of researcher at Bei Jing Da Xue (Peking University) in 2004, since which time she has accumulated extensive knowledge of the contemporary Chinese art world from the multiple angles of major artists, collectors, critics, curators, art academicians, art journalists and publishers. Over this period she has acquired close expertise of the often distinct motives and contextual requirements of collectors of Chinese art in mainland China and the West, guiding the latter far beyond a narrow approach of “export art”. In 2006 Ms Pettit established a Representative Office for the contemporary Chinese arts consultancy Arts Influential China in Shanghai, with three foci: sourcing important works from the immediate post “Opening Up” period for private collectors and foundations; curatorial projects on behalf of galleries and art fairs; and advising Western multi-national corporations on their brand identity in China through their association with, and collection building of, the finest emerging Chinese artists. Ms Pettit also lectured part-time in Arts Management at graduate level at Shanghai University at this time. In 2013 Ms Pettit formed Peking Art Associates with associate specialists now in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, London and Toronto, working either on projects in these cities locally or cross-culturally.
Ms Pettit advises a handful of the most eminent private collectors of Chinese contemporary art in their acquisitions, manages Chevron’s Chinese contemporary art collection, regularly contributes to the Standard Chartered Bank Collection of portraiture, is Head of Art Acquisitions for The New World Group’s Rosewood Hotel, Beijing, for which she commissioned over one thousand five hundred art works over a period of four years. In 2015, she was contracted by St Hilda’s College, The University of Oxford, to act as Principal Advisor and Project Manager for an academic initiative in Chinese art history. In 2016 Ms Pettit was chosen to lead the art curating and commissioning of a significant number of site-specific art works for Rosewood Hotel and Serviced Hotel Guangzhou, which will be housed in the tallest building in the Tianhe District of that city.
Ms Pettit has further undertaken corporate projects for Mercedes Benz Financial Services Beijing, P&O Cruises (Britannia) and Fidelity Corporation’s offices in London, and latterly Shanghai where she was the invited guest speaker at Fidelity Corporation’s 2013 AGM. Major prior corporate clients include:- Chevron, Beijing and Nanjing, China; Fidelity, London and Shanghai; New World Hospitality, Hong Kong; Mercedes Benz Financial Services China; Odgers Ray & Berndtson, Shanghai; P & O Cruises; The Poly Group, China; The Rosewood Hotel, Beijing; The National Trust, Sydney, Australia; Standard Chartered Bank, London, New York, Shenzhen and Singapore; LM Plus Restaurant Group, Beijing; and the University of Sydney, Australia (The Vice-Chancellor’s official Residence).
Since 2010 Ms Pettit has curated three exhibitions and accompanying catalogues each year, on occasion in cooperation with galleries and dealers worldwide. She is also strategist to cross-cultural exchange programmes between Chinese and Western art museums and foundations, currently including an exhibition of NAMOC Director Wu Weishan’s sculpture and calligraphy, Irish President Michael D. Higgins’ poetry, previously unseen works of the leading 20th century Irish artist Patrick Scott’s paintings and the scripts of eminent Chinese and Irish calligraphers Shao Yan and Denis Brown, titled “Beyond the Three Perfections” that will take place at Dublin Castle in October - December 2017. She is currently the Project Manager with Lady Angela Nevill of Nevill Keating Pictures London and Principal Advisor to leading British artist Marc Quinn on his inaugural exhibition in China at The Central Academy of Fine Art Museum, Beijing in December 2017 - Spring Festival 2018. Notable past exhibitions Ms Pettit has curated include a group exhibition of Chinese oil paintings, charcoal and ink works in summer 2013 at The Fine Art Society, London, one of the city’s oldest dealerships. In 2015 Ms Pettit curated her second London exhibition, a major portraiture survey at the Albemarle Gallery in London to coincide with Asian Art Week London. In 2016 she was lead media advisor to the Hurun Rich List Art Foundation inaugural art exhibition in London, including coverage and interviews in The Telegraph, The Arts Newspaper, Artinfo, FAD, and Ms Pettit interviewed on Christies TV: Click here to see the interview
Ms Pettit has previously consulted the art fairs Art HK (now Art Basel Hong Kong), Korea’s Busan Art Fair and New York’s Asian Contemporary Art Fair (ACAF), where in 2008 she was responsible for VIP collector relations and special programming, including a showcase of New York collectors’ early installations by artist Ai Weiwei and video works by Gu Dexin, a spotlight exhibit of young Chinese artists, and an accompanying lecture series at the CORE Club New York featuring notable speakers Dr Charles Merewether, Dr Robert C. Morgan and Dr Richard Vine.
Apart from the well-known ‘names’ of Chinese artists in the West, Ms Pettit’s particular area of interest is the bridging of tradition and modernity in Chinese artistic custom, and moreover the internationalisation of Chinese art through the most talented younger generation of artists, in whose work Eastern philosophy and practice and Western conceptual interest can converge.
Having a rigorous academic grounding in Arts and Humanities at Masters level at Oxford University and long-term relationships with many artists in China means Ms Pettit is at once able to offer a broad perspective on a very large marketplace and understands the cultural nuances, intrinsic to building well-rounded collections. A background in literature, philosophy and business (B.A., UCL & LSE, First Class Honours and Irene Frowen University Medal for Literature ’03; M.A., Oxford (Merton College, Arts and Humanities Research Board, AHRB Scholar) ’05; Diploma of Business Management, Beijing Da Xue & the LSE, ’04 and ’05) has enabled Ms Pettit to build these relationships with both artists and collectors in-depth, and undertake critical writing from multiple angles. On a practical level, Ms Pettit is experienced in project managing highly complex, cross-cultural projects, garnered from over a decade of building on-the-ground practical knowledge and excellent professional relationships.
Ms Pettit is a native English speaker and has good aptitude in Mandarin and German.