WITH THIS July-August 2013 issue of Arts of Asia I am de-lighted as the publisher to collaborate with our fourth son, Robin Markbreiter, to announce the change of ownership of the magazine to him. Indeed, he has spent many years as executive editor, “learning the ropes” of how to publish a worthy and useful Asian arts publication, in a sense having been groomed for the job. We take this opportunity to thank our international subscribers and contributors, as well as our advertisers for their unfailing support which make the pages lively and consistent with current trends.
I have spent the best part of my long working life on behalf of the magazine and its readers. As Founder Publisher and Editor, I was given the choice of continuing directorship of the magazine’s publication. It encourages me to follow the magazine’s progress, which I am confident will be notable both for the classic and contemporary arts of Asia.
Robin attended the opening ceremony of the Radiant Legacy—an exhibition of ancient Chinese gold from the Mengdiexuan Collection—at the Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shatin on May 4th (Saturday) at 4:30 pm. About three hundred gold ornaments from the collection of Betty and Kenneth Chu (Mengdiexuan) are fea-tured in this exhibition. Spanning over 3000 years (circa 1500 BC to 1700 AD), the selections represent the first comprehen-sive and systematic presentation of gold in ancient China ever held in a Hong Kong museum. This is also the first large-scale art-historical, intercultural and technical study of Chinese gold from the earliest times.
A well-attended symposium on Chinese ancient gold, con-sisting presentations by an international roster of scholars, was held from 9:30 am to 3:15 pm before the exhibition’s official opening (see Robin’s photograph above). The honoured guests officiating the opening ceremony were (from left to right): Professor Harold Mok, Chairman of the Department of Fine Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Mr Kenneth Chu; Professor James C.Y. Watt, Curator Emeritus of the De-partment of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and J.S. Lee Professor of Chinese Culture of the Institute of Chi-nese Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Professor Huo Wei, Professor and Director of the Sichuan University Museum and Centre for Tibetan Studies, Sichuan University; Professor Benjamin Wah, Provost, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Mrs Emma C. Bunker, Consultant to the Denver Art Museum; Professor Dame Jessica Rawson, Professor of Chi-nese Art and Archaeology, Oxford University; Mrs Betty Chu; and Professor Peter Lam, Director of the Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate my good friend Professor Peter Lam on four decades of devoted service to the Art Museum. Over the years we have enjoyed publishing his scholarly articles in Arts of Asia. Peter has always been a true gentleman and generous in sharing his thorough knowledge of Chinese Art. I wish him a fulfilling retirement. Professor Lam said, “I leave the Art Museum to pursue travel to places I have always wanted to visit, to read books that have been waiting on my long ‘must read’ list, to finish papers that I have committed a long time ago, to practice calligraphy again to keep me calm and to keep my blood pressure down, and above all to enjoy time with my family. I will take with me the many wonderful friendships and fond memories of shared achievements. Thank you for your kindness, support and a fantastic forty years.”
As Hong Kong continues to grow as an international art centre, there has been a swift rise in the number of con-temporary art fairs in the city—the world’s third largest art market. This May alone we had five contemporary art fairs, including the more established Art Basel held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), as well as two antiques fairs. Exhibiting at the HKCEC is an important factor for success and organiser Chak’s Investment Limited was again able to secure this venue for the International An-tiques Fair 2013 (www.iaf.com.hk), May 25th to 27th. The opening ceremony held on May 24th (6-9 pm) also coincided with Christie’s reception and private viewing (6:30-8:30 pm) in the same building. Earlier in the day, the Asia International Arts & Antiques Fair 2013 (www.aiaa.com.hk) opened at 11 am at the Kowloonbay International Trade and Exhibition Centre. It was the fair’s eighth edition co-organised by Paper Communications Exhibition Services and Chang Jiang Cul-tural Industries Group Ltd, and supported by the Belgium In-ternational Culture and Arts Exchange Centre and the Hong Kong International Artists Association.
At both antiques fairs, Arts of Asia had booths showcas-ing current and back issues and we were delighted to meet friends from Hong Kong and overseas visitors. They all felt it was a busy but enjoyable week for art enthusiasts and collec-tors. Apart from the fairs, Bonhams and Christie’s Spring auc-tions, the inaugural sale of Chinese works of art at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery (5/F, One Pacific Place) featuring Snuff Bottles from the Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI, and The Mei Yun Tang Collection of Paintings by Chang Dai-Chien, there were also many interesting art exhibitions at gal-leries located around Hollywood Road. Even the most dedi-cated art enthusiasts could not possibly attend all of them.
I do my best to keep Arts of Asia subscribers well-informed of exciting upcoming events through the attractive advertise-ments published in the magazine and the Editorial. Readers may therefore like to note in their diaries that Fine Art Asia 2013 will be held from October 4th to 7th at the HKCEC, with a private preview on October 3rd. This is the fair’s ninth edi-tion, paving the way for the milestone tenth edition in 2014. On April 17th, Robin was present at a cocktail reception and press gathering of Fine Art Asia 2013 held at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong where a group exhibition “A Feast for the Eyes” featuring a collection of artworks from established art galler-ies, such as Alisan Fine Arts, were displayed within the classi-cally modern interior setting of the hotel. The exhibition in-spired the public through a delightful display that embodies the spirit of springtime.
Fine Art Asia Co-Chairman and Director Calvin Hui also announced a ground-breaking partnership with Masterpiece London 2013. Fine Art Asia 2013 will sponsor and present a Hong Kong Pavilion at Masterpiece London to be held from June 26th to July 3rd. A European Pavilion will in turn be sponsored and presented by Masterpiece London at Fine Art Asia in October. Mr Hui commented that the new relationship forged between the two art fairs will help expand the exhibi-tion platform for galleries in Asia and Europe. Nazy Vassegh, Chief Executive Officer of Masterpiece London said, “We are pleased to initiate this dynamic programme at Masterpiece Arts Fair this June highlighting the longstanding cultural re-lationship between the East and the West where Hong Kong and London will welcome the opportunity to see outstanding examples of oriental works of art, antique and contemporary, that celebrate Chinese culture. In return we look forward to working with the Masterpiece exhibitors to create an impres-sive pavilion in Hong Kong this autumn that will showcase rare and exquisite European works of art.”
Finally, I want to thank Monique Crick, Director of the Baur Foundation, Museum for Far Eastern Art in Geneva, and her colleagues Dr Helen Loveday and Dr Estelle Niklès van Osselt. Their expertly written and translated articles highlight the museum’s important collections of Japanese works of art, Qing dynasty enamelled imperial porcelains, Qing dynasty and early Republic jades, Qing dynasty textiles (including hats, dragon and other ceremonial robes, tapestries and rank badges), and rare Chinese snuff bottles. With close to three hundred colour illustrations, no expense has been spared for the production of the July-August 2013 special issue. It is an edition to remember and a “must have” in libraries.