Art Deco to Art Now

Join Claudia Chan Shaw for a fresh look at China’s early 20th century architectural heritage, alongside its 21st century contemporary art, design and changing culture.

Begin in Shanghai, where Art Deco and grand European-influenced architecture and design present a tangible history of the 1920s and 1930s. Along the Bund, and between the buildings of the French Concession, trace the origins of Art Deco and discover the cutting-edge art and architecture of a China in transition. Then travel to Hong Kong, a city with a rich and diverse history, heritage and culture, and explore its galleries, museums and emerging fashions.

Experience the shifting culture of two of China’s most dynamic cities, with very different histories, that today share a new exuberant Chinese urban culture showcasing the latest international trends tinged with a ‘Sino’ character.


This tour is part of the World Art Tours program organised by the Art Gallery Society of NSW in partnership with Renaissance Tours.

Depart Australia or New Zealand on suggested Qantas or Cathay Pacific flights (via Hong Kong) departing in the morning and arriving in the evening. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.

On arrival in Shanghai transfer from the airport to the hotel for check-in (transfer included in tour price).

In the morning, join Claudia and fellow travellers for a welcome briefing and talk. Then, stroll along Shanghai’s Bund, examining the grand European-influenced architecture from the 1920s and 1930s that lines Shanghai’s historic waterfront, concluding with a tour of the Peace Hotel, one of Shanghai’s most famous examples of Art Deco. Then enjoy a special welcome lunch at the Peace Hotel.

Afterwards, travel to the Shanghai Museum. Located in People’s Square, the political and cultural centre of Shanghai, the museum’s exterior resembles an ancient Chinese cooking pot. A museum of the early arts, the collection encompasses coins, jade, calligraphy and ceramics that showcase China’s ancient artistic achievements.


Begin the day with a walking tour, starting at the origins of Art Deco in Shanghai at the former French Club. Meander through the streets of the former French Concession, past villas, apartments and cinemas evocative of a bygone era. Stop at Fuxing Park, once a private park of the Ming dynasty, where local residents gather for dancing, Tai Chi and games of checkers. Then, visit the Escher-esque 1933 Old Millfun, a former abattoir and factory and one of the most unusual historic buildings in Shanghai. With a brutalist Art Deco exterior, the building features a series of intertwining concrete staircases, bridges and corridors. Today it is the only remaining building of this design in the world.

After lunch, cross the Huangpu River to Pudong – the ‘new’ Shanghai – for a visit to the China Art Museum, one of the largest museums in Asia. Housed in the former China Pavilion of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the museum contains 27 exhibition halls showcasing the origin and development of modern Chinese art.


Start the morning with a talk by Claudia, then travel to the Propaganda Poster Art Centre, which houses a private collection of posters from the first 30 years of the People’s Republic of China. Originally collected as a personal hobby, the gallery today contains over 5,000 prints ranging from pictures of fierce battles against the Communist Party’s enemies to peaceful visions of life in a model socialist society.

In the afternoon, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai. A former greenhouse in People’s Park, the museum became China’s first private contemporary art museum in 2005. The exhibition spaces are diverse in presenting mixed media works with the museum featuring new and established Chinese and international artists and designers.

In the evening, enjoy dinner at celebrated restaurant M on the Bund amidst the night lights of Shanghai.


This morning, check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for a flight to Hong Kong (flight included in tour price).

Arrive in Hong Kong in the mid-afternoon and transfer to the hotel in Kowloon for check-in. In the evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.


Begin today with a talk by Claudia, then get to know the history of Kowloon with a guided walk along Hong Kong’s historic harbour front, featuring well-known Hong Kong landmarks such as the old Railway Clock tower, 1881 Heritage (the Former Marine Police Headquarters) and the Peninsula Hotel.

After lunch, continue through the back streets and lively markets of Kowloon, with a visit to Hong Kong’s colourful Jade Market.


This morning, take the ferry across Victoria Harbour for a visit to White Cube, the first of the London powerhouse galleries to be located outside of the United Kingdom. With a focus on exhibiting international artists, the gallery opened in 2012 with an exhibition of British artists Gilbert & George.

After lunch, explore the vibrant SoHo art district located along the south of Hollywood Road. Peek in at small local studios, boutique fashion shops and antique stores scattered through the neighbourhood along alleyways ornamented with street art.


After a morning talk by Claudia, visit M+ Pavilion. Perched at the tip of Kowloon in a verdant park overlooking Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island, the gallery was the first permanent exhibition venue in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District. Opened in 2016, the gallery focuses on the burgeoning modern art scene of the city. Set within the Art Park, the design of the gallery allows for an expansive view of the cityscape and harbour.

Later, transfer to the historic Pedder Building in Hong Kong’s Central district. One of the last colonial-era buildings remaining in the heart of the city, the Beaux Arts-style building is home to some of the world’s most highly reputable art dealers and galleries, along with smaller fashion, jewellery and boutique stores.

Tonight, celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a special farewell dinner at a local restaurant with Claudia and fellow travellers.


Tour arrangements conclude today after breakfast.

Suggested departures on Cathay Pacific flights departing in the morning and arriving in the evening, or Qantas flights departing in the evening and arriving in the morning (next day). Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including any extra nights’ accommodation, either before or after the tour.


Per person, twin-share

AUD 8,950

Single supplement*

AUD 1,550

Deposit per person (at time of booking)

AUD 1,000

*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.

Final payment due

18 February 2019

Tour code


Fitness level

Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness level definitions.

Suggested airline

Qantas or Cathay Pacific
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.


All foreigners require a visa to visit the People’s Republic of China. Renaissance Tours will assist you in your visa application.

Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to visit Hong Kong.

Tour price includes

  • Accommodation in centrally-located 5 star hotels with breakfast daily (B)
  • Meals as per itinerary (L = Lunch, D = Dinner) including local beer and soft drinks
  • Visa for People’s Republic of China
  • Airport/hotel transfer on arrival in Shanghai
  • Lectures and talks with your tour leader, Claudia Chan Shaw
  • Comprehensive sightseeing including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
  • Economy Class flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong
  • Transportation throughout on comfortable air-conditioned coaches
  • Gratuities for local guides and drivers
  • Hotel porterage (one piece per person)

Tour price does not include

  • International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
  • Airport porterage
  • Hotel/airport transfer on departure in Hong Kong
  • Items of a personal nature including telephone, laundry, taxis, minibar, room service etc.
  • Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)


Your hotels
Shanghai – Fairmont Peace Hotel *****
Hong Kong – Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers *****

NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.