I have very exciting news to share with you.
In 2006 Friends Chair, Vicki Firth, started the Collectors Circle, inviting members of the group to donate to the fundraising drive on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Friends. The purpose of the fund was to allow the Art Museum at CUHK to acquire significant pieces of art that would otherwise be beyond their means.
The Art Museum is currently showing, in conjunction with the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford University, two master painters, Lui Shou-kwan and Gao Jianfu. Lui Shou Kwan is often called the father of modern Hong Kong ink painting, and his “Zen” paintings are very well respected and selling at high prices in the auctions. Until now the CUHK Art Museum has had only one of his works, a significant and excellent, large landscape that used to be in the Lee Gardens Hotel but they have no example of his “Zen” style. Apart from this one painting, all the works by Lui in the current exhibition are on loan from the Ashmolean, so it seemed an appropriate time for the Friends to use the earmarked funds to purchase a significant Lui work to compliment the Museum’s current holding.
On Saturday March 15th, the Friends proudly presented the painting, “Zen Lotus”, which was selected by the Art Museum. This purchase has been made possible by funds supplied by the Friends, the Friends Collectors Circle, and with the generous cooperation of Alisan Fine Arts and the artist’s daughter, Helen Ting. This gift is a true testimony of our mission and we thank you all; our members, donors, and partners for your support and generosity the past years, to make this happen. I do hope that you are all thrilled and proud.
An additional highlight is that on the same day Vicki and Denys Firth also donated and presented, “Luk Keng Village”, another extraordinary piece of work by Lui Shou Kwan to the Art Museum as a parting gift in recognition of all the education and enjoyment provided by the Friends and the staff of the Art Museum over the 18 years they have lived in Hong Kong. It was a double presentation and a double celebration- a true showcase of the support for the Museum from the Friends group and collectors. It was certainly a day to remember!
The Friends continues to expand its network in the community- bringing people together through art and culture. This June, Young Friends are particularly proud to present the work of five young artists, four of whom are from CUHK, at the Rotunda, Exchange Square, as part of our initiative to help our young local artists network and reach out. The exhibition is wholly sponsored by Hong Kong Land as part of their 125th Anniversary.
For the coming months, we have many exciting programmes in store for you - the “Jewels of India” Series: ”“Indian Antique Shawls”, with Romi Lamba, “How to Start a Collection” with Judith Rutherford, the Dunhuang Project at City University, Tibetan Thangkas, with Karen Horton, and more. The Friends will be active during Art Asia and Art
Basel. Our Gallery Group has recently regrouped with Elizabeth Miles, Sue Sandberg, and new volunteers, Belinda Piggott, Lydia Dorfman, and Cynthia Lackey, and I know that they have some grand plans in the coming months.
Study group continues to be a regular favourite. Tours are as usual, healthily signed up. We thank those of you who have sent in the Tour Surveys which will be very helpful to the future planning of our tours. Bonnie Pinkham, our new Board member in charge of products, will be looking into ideas and designs for new products.
We are forever indebted to all our sponsors, partners, donors, and members for their support, donations, and participation. I look forward to seeing many of you at one or two of our events and I would be delighted to hear from you if you have any suggestions, ideas to share, or wish to join the workforce.