IN CELEBRATION of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), a superb Chinese art and culture exhibition was held at the Hong Kong Central Library from September 22nd to October 14th, 2022. Organised by the Hong Kong Chinese Arts and Culture Promotion Foundation, “The 25th Anniversary of HKSAR—Hong Kong Collection Exhibition” brought together fine examples from the collections of a group of renowned Chinese art collectors.
It was a great pleasure to attend the exhibition opening in person. I am hopeful that this exhibition, together with recent auctions, exhibitions and museum openings, will help to re-establish Hong Kong’s position as a global hub for Asian art and cultural exchange. Now that travel restrictions have been lifted, let us all hope that Hong Kong will again attract international visitors and once again become the vibrant and dynamic city beloved by so many.
For this Winter 2022 edition of Arts of Asia, the outstanding cover article by Dr Bradley Bailey, Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Curator of Asian Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), presents the renowned Gitter-Yelen Collection of Japanese Art. The collection is well known for its holdings of Japanese paintings, screens and ceramics, with particular strengths in Rinpa School and Zen painting. It is truly wonderful for MFAH to receive on a permanent basis more than seventy works from the Gitter-Yelen Collection, widely considered one of the most significant collections of Japanese art in the United States.
The milestone 25th anniversary edition of Asian Art in London (AAL) takes place from October 20th to November 5th, 2022. In recognition of this special occasion, I am delighted to publish my interview with Giuseppe Eskenazi, the eminent London-based purveyor of Chinese art, as well as a fascinating article on Chinese ceramics by Kate Newnham, Senior Curator, Visual Arts, at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.
Stephanie Hueon Tung, the Byrne Family Curator of Photography at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts, writes about the PEM’s exhibition, “Power and Perspective: Early Photography in China”, which opened on September 24th, 2022 and runs until April 2nd, 2023. The exhibition features 130 photographs in dialogue with paintings, decorative arts and prints drawn largely from PEM’s outstanding collections, with select loans from public and private collections.
Dr James C.S. Lin, Senior Curator of Chinese Art, The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, writes about Francis Faust, who in 1973 settled by chance in Bali, where he went on to build his world-class collection of Asian art––mostly Chinese, Vietnamese and high-quality Indonesian artefacts. I would also like to thank Dr Marco Guglielminotti Trivel, art historian, curator and former director (2018−2021) of the MAO Museo d’Arte Oriental in Turin, Italy, for his enlightening article on MAO’s permanent collections. I hope Marco’s beautifully illustrated article will help bring the museum the greater attention it deserves.
The Hong Kong Museum of Art is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and Dr Maria Kar-wing Mok, Museum Director, has kindly contributed an informative article about the museum’s transformation over the years and exciting plans for its future. Finally, for the Collectors World section, E. Billie Hughes, a gemmologist at Lotus Gemology in Bangkok, interviews Yang Xi, one of China’s leading jade carvers.
As mentioned, AAL is celebrating twenty-five years—an outstanding achievement for everyone involved in the organisation of, and participation in, this enjoyable annual event. In recent years, AAL has expanded to include Indian and Islamic art, while contemporary Asian art also now constitutes a significant part of the event. On Wednesday October 26th, a Gala Party will be held in the Dome of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Guests will also be treated to a private view of the “Hallyu! The Korean Wave” exhibition, as well as gallery talks by museum curators. Henry Howard-Sneyd, Chair of AAL, said: “This year promises to be a vintage year with forty-eight participants already signed up, not just for the celebration of twenty-five years, but also, now that Covid is in the rear view mirror for us in the UK, looking forward to the next twenty-five years.” As usual, an extensive programme of exhibitions and auctions will be held by dealers, galleries and auction houses specialising in Asian art. I am delighted that AAL continues to evolve and thrive, and it is my pleasure to share some of this year’s highlights below.
For the special 25th edition of AAL, Marchant are delighted to announce the exhibition and sale of “Chinese Ceramics Tang to Song”, a discipline the gallery has handled since their founding in 1925. The exhibition contains forty-three fine and rare examples with excellent provenance. An impressive hardback catalogue accompanies the exhibition and the cover piece is an exceptional blue-ground phoenix-head ewer. Only a handful of blue-ground examples are known and this one has survived in exceptional condition.
Eskenazi Ltd commemorates fifty years of exhibitions with a show of five masterpieces of Chinese art on loan from a private family collection, all of which were acquired through the gallery over past decades. Each of the five objects is amongst the finest of its type: four are imperial wares, including a seal almost certainly used by the Kangxi emperor himself on paintings he considered to be treasures. Representing high points of Chinese artistic creativity in the Song, Yuan and Qing periods, the exhibition presents the opportunity to admire rarely seen masterpieces of Chinese art from each of these dynasties.
Littleton & Hennessy Asian Art have chosen a group of artworks that represents the diversity of material with which the gallery likes to deal in their day-to-day business. “Each piece tells a story and has been selected not solely for monetary importance but for their beauty and how they speak to us.” One of the exhibition highlights is a rare cloisonné enamel garlic-head twin-handled vase, Qianlong period.
Martyn Gregory will exhibit a collection of works by Western travelling artists, with drawings and watercolours of views from China, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Burma (Myanmar), Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, and more. The exhibition will include works by George Chinnery (1774−1852), who spent the majority of his life in India and Macau, Auguste Borget (1808−1877), the French artist, who travelled to the South China coast and the Philippines in the mid-19th century, William Alexander (1767−1816), who accompanied Lord McCartney’s embassy to Peking (Beijing) in 1792−1794, and a host of other artists and amateurs from the 18th to the 20th century.
Alisan Fine Arts, debuting in AAL at Cromwell Place, is pleased to present a group exhibition titled “Contemporary Chinese Art”. For this special occasion, the gallery will showcase seven Chinese artists, including three internationally acclaimed artists: Chao Chung-Hsiang (1910−1991), ink master Lui Shou-Kwan (1919−1975) and contemporary ink artist Wang Tiande, as well as a new generation of female artists: Man Fung-Yi, Zhang Xiaoli, Zhang Ying and Zhang Yirong. Gallery Director Daphne King Yao explained: “Their creations reach beyond the boundaries of Eastern and Western cultures and traverse ancient and modern times.”
Jorge Welsh Works of Art’s 2022 exhibition, “Okimono: Japanese Porcelain Figures from the Edo period”, is dedicated to the theme of Japanese porcelain in the form of human and animal figures, mostly produced for the export market during the second half of the 17th and the 18th century. The animals represented are usually found amongst Japanese iconography, whilst the human figures are inspired by Japanese cosmopolitan society, deities and legendary local heroes. This exhibition presents over eighty individual pieces, of which seventy-five are illustrated and discussed in the catalogue, which has an introductory article by Professor Christiaan Jörg.
It is also my pleasure to announce that Jorge Welsh Research and Publishing will host a three-day conference, “Asian Art in the World: Historical Influences on Culture and Society”, from November 24th−26th, 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal. The principal aim of this conference is “to highlight the important contribution made by Asia to world art and universal civilisation, from the remote ages to the Silk Road and its land and sea routes, to the modern age of globalisation and the huge prestige afforded to the many artistic cultures of Asia in the Western world.” For more information, please visit www.aawconference.com.
The Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM) and the world-renowned Liechtenstein Princely Collections will present “Odysseys of Art: Masterpieces Collected by the Princes of Liechtenstein” from November 9th, 2022 to February 20th, 2023, with LGT Private Banking (LGT) as Principal Sponsor. This is the first time the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein (the Collections) in Europe will be displayed in Hong Kong, showcasing over 120 priceless treasures from the Collections. Amongst the highlights are masterpieces by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) and Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641), two of the most distinguished 17th century European painters of the Baroque period.
This exhibition is highly significant, as it is HKPM’s first special exhibition after its opening exhibitions, as well as the museum’s first exhibition featuring European masterpieces in dialogue with Chinese art and culture. The exhibition articulates HKPM’s vision and mission of advancing dialogue among world civilisations, while reinforcing Hong Kong’s position as a centre for cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world.
The House of Liechtenstein is one of the oldest noble lineages in Europe. The princes of Liechtenstein have collected art for centuries, establishing one of the largest and most important art collections in the world today. Co-curated by the teams of experts from the HKPM and the Liechtenstein Princely Collections, the highly anticipated exhibition will showcase over 120 masterpieces, including paintings, prints, tapestries, sculptures and decorative art objects selected from over 30,000 works in the Princely Collections. Through these stunning works, visitors will discover the passion for art and the collecting practices of the princes of Liechtenstein, as well as the exchanges in art and architecture between China and Europe across the centuries.
H.S.H. Prince Max von und zu Liechtenstein, Chairman of LGT, said: “In an increasingly polarised world, there is an opportunity for art to foster mutual understanding. LGT is proud to sponsor this exhibition of our collection in Hong Kong, where we first opened our doors in 1986. Our family, a passionate collector of art for more than 500 years, is honoured to collaborate with the HKPM to share key pieces from our collection with the people of Hong Kong.”
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our advertisers, authors, contributing editors and subscribers for their support over the last twelve months. I would also like to wish all our readers good health and happiness throughout the coming New Year. My team and I are looking forward to a positive and rewarding 2023.
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