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Siren, Osvald

(1879-1966). Pioneer in art research; in 1908 Sirén became the first professor of the history of art in Sweden. Initially he specialized in Italian and Renaissance works, notably Leonardo da Vinci, but soon turned to the Orient, to become one of the world’s foremost sinologues. In 1926 he published Chinese Sculpture — Fifth to Fourteenth Centuries in five volumes and in 1956 Chinese Paintings in seven volumes, all handsomely illustrated.

A lifelong student of theosophy, Sirén joined the Theosophical Society (Pasadena) at age 19 and until his death contributed articles to that Society’s periodicals both in Sweden and the U.S. For many years he was a leading figure in the Swedish Section of the TS (Point Loma/Pasadena)

The Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C. awarded him the Freer Medal, a rare honor.


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