Why Bertha Lum ?
She is not the most famous turn-of-the-century artist; I might even say that -outside a certain circle (Californian collectioneurs)- her works no longer have the appreciation and notoriety they used to, although they are of a rare subtlety and elegance.
Bertha Lum was one of the Japanizing artists who helped making the art of (Japanese and Chinese) wood block printing known outside Asia, mixing it with the elegant Art Nouveau. Her prints are inspired by old legends and the street life of Beijing.
She was a contemporary of Katharine Jowett, Helen Hyde, Elizabeth Keith and Paul Jacoulet amongst the Western Artists and Kawase Hasui and Hiroshi Yoshida.
Red haired, with green eyes and a strong personality, she managed to impose her works in Asia as well as America. Her very personal style managed to please the two cultures at the beginning of the last century and it still strikes a cord today (just look how difficult it is to find any of her works on sale and how high the asking prize is).
I now leave you to wander through her site.