Clarissa Gräfin
von Spee

Curator, China

Department: Asia


+44 (0)20 7323 8919   

Clarissa von Spee is a curator in the Asia department, where her main responsibilities include Chinese calligraphy and paintings, prints and the Central Asian collections.

Clarissa studied East Asian Art History, Sinology, and European Art History in Heidelberg, Paris and Taipei. She received her Ph.D. from Heidelberg University. Before she joined the British Museum in 2008, she was Assistant Professor for East Asian Art History at Heidelberg University, and Research Assistant at the Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, after having served as cataloguer of Chinese works of art at the auction house LEMPERTZ.

Her research interests include traditional and modern Chinese paintings and works of art, museum studies, and issues of connoisseurship and contemporary art.

Previous projects

  • Germany- Memories of a Nation, exhibition co-curator (2014/15)
  • Gems of Chinese Painting. A voyage along the Yangzi river, exhibition curator (2014)
  • Modern Chinese ink paintings, exhibition curator (2012)
  • The Printed Image in China from the 8th to the 21st centuries,
    exhibition curator (2010)

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

2015    Leverhulme Research Fellowship for ‘Art and Imagery in the Jiangnan region, 1100-1800’

2014     Fellow of the China National Academy of Art, Department of Art and Archeology, China Research Institute of Visual Studies, Hangzhou


"Visiting Steles. Variations of a Painting Theme," in Shane McCausland and Yin Hwang (eds), On Telling Images of China. Essays in Narrative Painting and Visual Culture, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2014, pp.213-236.

"Wu Dacheng at 58. Two Handscrolls with Bronze Rubbings from the Shanghai Museum," in Burglind Jungmann, Adele Schlombs & Melanie Trede (eds.), Shifting Paradigms in East Asian Visual Culture. A Festschrift in Honour of Lothar Ledderose, Berlin: Reimer 2012, 299-312.

Modern Chinese Ink Painting. A Century of new Directions, London: British Museum Press 2012.

(ed.), The Printed Image in China from the 8th to the 21st Centuries, London: British Museum Press 2010.

Der Perfekte Pinsel - Chinesische Malerei 1300-1900/The Perfect Brush - Chinese Painting 1300-1900, (Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst Köln) Köln: asmuth 2010.

Wu Hufan - A Twentieth Century Art Connoisseur in Shanghai. Berlin: Reimer 2008.

"Krieg und Kunst in China - Wu Hufans Feier der Atombombenexplosion von 1965," in: Cord Arendes/Jörg Peltzer (Hg.), Krieg -Vergleichende Perspektiven aus Kunst, Musik und Geschichte, Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter 2007, 203-216.