C. T. Loo (1880–1957)
Ching Tsai Loo (Lu Qinzhai; 盧芹齋), almost always known as C. T. Loo, was the preeminent dealer of Chinese art during the first half of the twentieth century. Loo was originally from a wealthy family in Zhejiang that was forced to seek refuge in Shanghai after the Taiping Rebellion in the 1850s. Loo was sent to Paris at the age of twenty to engage in commerce, which he combined with his love of Chinese art. He opened his first store, Ton Ying, near the place de la Madeleine. It closed in 1908, when he opened another store, Lai Yuan. In 1926, the French architect Fernand Bloch (1864–1945) designed and built a six-story, Mandarin pagoda-style commercial building for Loo’s business, Gallerie C. T. Loo & Cie., at 48, rue de Courcelles. Loo also had commercial operations in Beijing, Shanghai, and New York. Almost single-handedly, Loo introduced early Chinese art to European and American collectors and was responsible for the high quality of collections formed in this period, such as those of J. P. Morgan, Samuel Peters, Alfred Pillsbury, and Henry Clay Frick.