Matthew Philip McKelway

Matthew Philip McKelway

Japanese Art
A.B., Amherst College, 1989
Ph.D., Columbia University, 1999


Matthew McKelway specializes in the history of Japanese painting. His studies initially focused on urban representation in screen paintings of Kyoto (rakuchū rakugai zu) and the development of genre painting in early modern Japan, but have extended to Kano school painting, Rimpa, and individualist painters in eighteenth-century Kyoto. Some of these interests have converged in his essays on fan paintings, a subject of ongoing research. In his publications he has sought to understand Japanese paintings according to the physical and cultural contexts of their creators in order to discover the motivations, whether political, personal, literary, or philosophical, that drove them to make pictures in particular ways. He has been a visiting professor at the Free University of Berlin, University of Heidelberg, Seijō University, and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. In 2017 he was awarded the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award.

Graduate seminar and lecture topics have ranged from Buddhist art, narrative handscrolls and Muromachi ink painting to arts of the Momoyama period, the Kano school, Rimpa, and Edo-period painting. Additional instruction in reading early Japanese scripts (hentaigana / kuzushiji) and art historical treatises is offered to graduate and advanced undergraduate students. For information on current and former graduate students, see The Mary Griggs Burke Center for Japanese Art.

Prospective Graduate Students in Japanese Art are encouraged to contact Professor McKelway directly. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program, students should have completed at least three years of study in Japanese, preferably with at least one year spent in Japan. Further requirements are detailed in the Ph.D. student handbook.

Selected Publications

Rosetsu: Ferocious Brush. Munich: Rietberg Museum / Prestel, 2018. Co-authored with Khanh Trinh.

Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828) Japan Society/Yale University Press, 2012.

Chinese Romance from a Japanese Brush: Kano Sansetsu’s Chōgonka Scrolls in the Chester Beatty Library. London: Editions Scala, 2009. Co-authored with Shane McCausland.

Capitalscapes: Folding Screens and Political Imagination in Late Medieval Kyoto. University of Hawaii, 2006.

Traditions Unbound: Groundbreaking Painters from Eighteenth-Century Kyoto. San Francisco: Asian Art Museum, 2005.

“Rosetsu’s Red Cliffs: Medium and Meaning in Late Edo-Period Painting.” In The Artist in Edo, ed. Yukio Lippit, 187-218. Studies in the History of Art 80. Washington DC: National Gallery of Art and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018.

“Eitoku’s Doves.” In Around Chigusa: Tea and the Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan, ed. Dora Ching, Louise Cort, and Andrew Watsky, 107-131. Princeton: P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University, 2017.

「狩野山雪の夜曲」(Kano Sansetsu Nocturnes) 『畫下遊楽(二)奥平俊六先生退職記念論文集』(Geika Shoin, 2018).

BBC Moving Pictures: Scenes in and around Kyoto

「新出《北野遊楽・阿国歌舞伎図屏風》― 初期歌舞伎小屋の位置変遷をめぐって」 (Merrymaking at Kitano and Okuni Kabuki: The Movements and Meaning of the Early Kabuki Stage). 『國華』1449 (July 2016).

「岩佐又兵衛筆 源氏物語色紙絵」 (Iwasa Matabei, Scenes from the Tale of Genji). 『國華』1435 (May 2015).

「山本梅逸筆 嵐山高雄圖屏風」(Landscapes of Arashiyama and Takao by Yamamoto Baiitsu)『國華』1411 (May 2013).

「新出八曲一隻洛中洛外圖屛風について」(A Newly Discovered Eight-panel Kyoto Screen [rakuchū rakugai zu])『國華』1405 (Nov. 2012).

“Autumn Moon and Lingering Snow: Kano Sansetsu’s West Lake Screens.” Artibus Asiae LXII: 1 (Spring 2003): 33-80.

Selected Publications

book cover

Traditions Unbound: Groundbreaking Painters from Eighteenth-Century Kyoto

Matthew McKelway