About: Anne Helmreich

I'm a senior program officer at the Getty Foundation and an art historian specializing in 19th-century European, particularly British, art. Before coming to the Getty, I was associate professor of art history and director of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University. My scholarly work focuses on the history of the art market, the relationships between art and science, and the history of the built environment.

Posts by Anne

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Foundation, Scholarship

Reimagining the Medieval Mediterranean

Norman Stanza, Royal Palace, Palermo, Sicily
Photo: Bill Tronzo

Scholars look anew at the medieval Mediterranean. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Foundation, Publications

Online Museum Collection Catalogues, Mantra and Metaphor

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What do you want to be, a grocery store or a restaurant? More»

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Posted in Art, Getty Foundation, Publications

Museum Catalogues from Eight Institutions You Can Now Read Online

The Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative, or OSCI, led by the Getty Foundation, is finding solutions for the complex task of creating museum publications in a free digital format.
The Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative, or OSCI, led by the Getty Foundation, is finding solutions for the complex task of creating museum publications in a free digital format.

Another online collections catalogue supported by the Getty Foundation has launched More»

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Posted in Art, Getty Foundation, Scholarship

Summer Camp for Art Historians

Photo: Frettie, CC By-SA 3.0

Three summer institutes convene art historians to push digital art history forward. More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Getty Foundation, Publications

New Digital Publication Zooms in on Claude Monet

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New digital catalogue from the Art Institute of Chicago lets you get up close and personal with Monet’s brushstrokes. More»

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Posted in Getty Foundation, Philanthropy, Publications, Scholarship

What Is a Page in the Digital Age?

On Performativity / Walker Art Center
View of the Walker’s new OSCI publication, On Performativity. Image courtesy Walker Art Center

A new crop of digital museum catalogues reinvents the page for the 21st century. More»

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OSCI and The Future of Digital Publishing | Getty Voices

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Digital isn’t just revolutionizing publishing. It’s revolutionizing the museum. More»

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Field Report from the Art History Olympics, the 33rd CIHA Congress

Program book and Anne Helmreich's attendee badge from the 2012 CIHA conference

Art history, like most other professions, relies on acronyms. CIHA refers to the International Committee for the History of Art, which is one of the oldest organizations in the profession, founded in 1930. I recently attended CIHA’s 33rd Congress in… More»

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.


      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”

      02/11/16

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