Matthew McKelway

Takeo and Itsuko Atsumi Professor of Japanese Art History

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

Contact Information

Phone: (212) 854-4505
Office: 919 Schermerhorn Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2-3


Matthew McKelway specializes in the history of Japanese painting. He earned his doctorate at Columbia University and conducted his doctoral research at Gakushūin University, where he has spent three additional years as a visiting scholar. His research has focused on urban representation in rakuchū rakugai zu (screen paintings of Kyoto), the development of genre painting in early modern Japan, Kano school painting, and individualist painters in 18th century Kyoto. Interests in the materiality and techniques of Japanese painting and the early Kano workshop have led to recent articles and a current book project on fan paintings as media for social intercourse and pictorial experimentation. His study of the painter Nagasawa Rosetsu will culminate in a major exhibition of his work at the Rietberg Museum in 2018.

The courses McKelway offers include surveys of Japanese art and more specialized undergraduate courses on painting and Buddhist art. Topics of graduate seminars and lectures have ranged from narrative handscrolls and Muromachi ink painting to the Kano school, Rimpa, and Edo-period painting. To graduate students in Japanese art history and other disciplines he also offers instruction in reading early Japanese scripts (hentaigana / kuzushiji). For information on current and former doctoral students, see The Mary Griggs Burke Center for Japanese Art.

Professor McKelway has been the Ishibashi Gastprofessur at the University of Heidelberg, and has also held visiting professorships at the Free University of Berlin and Waseda University. In 2017 he was awarded the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award.

Selected Publications

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).

"Masterworks of Kano Workshop Screen Paintings in the Larry Ellison Collection of Japanese Art," in In the Moment: Japanese Art from the Larry Ellison Collection, ed. Laura Allen, et al. Asian Art Museum, 2013.

「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).

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

「室町時代狩野派扇面画の “オリジナル”——宋画との関連」(The “Original” in Muromachi Period Kano-School Fan Paintings: The Relationship to Song Dynasty Paintings)『オリジナルの行方——文化財を伝えるために』(Heibonsha, 2010).

「北野経王堂と諏訪の神事——室町時代扇面図の場と記憶」 (Kitano Sutra Hall and Archery at Suwa Shrine: Muromachi Fan Paintings and Shogunal Memory)『風俗絵画の文化学——都市をうつすメディア』(Shibunkaku, 2009).

"Screens for a Young Warrior." Impressions v. 30 (2008-2009): 42-51.

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).

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


For Prospective Graduate Students in Japanese Art: Prior to entry into the program, prospective 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.