This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Hong Kong Museum of Art. To celebrate this memorable occasion, the museum has organised an exhibition entitled "Collecting for 50 Years - The People and Their Stories", which will be held from tomorrow (October 12) until March 31, 2013. The exhibition will share with the public 50 stories of people and episodes associated with the development of the museum over the past 50 years, and pays tribute to those who have made selfless contributions to the museum.
Addressing the opening of the exhibition, the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung, noted that as the city's first and only major art museum, the Hong Kong Museum of Art has gained great support from collectors, artists and sponsors over the past 50 years, and has held many memorable exhibitions and programmes.
Mrs Fung said that the museum has built up a comprehensive collection of about 16,000 items. In celebrating its 50th anniversary, the museum will reveal 50 stories covering people or episodes, including the birthday gift offered to the museum by Ms Irene Chou, a treasure which was lost in the chaos of war and found again, as well as the stories of various donors. These stories are to look back at the museum's work and history.
Located at Edinburgh Place, the Hong Kong City Hall officially opened in March 1962. The top three floors of the High Block, occupying an area of 11,000 square metres, were allotted for the City Museum and Art Gallery - the forerunner of the Hong Kong Museum of Art. In 1974, the City Museum and Art Gallery was split into the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Hong Kong Museum of Art. In 1975, the Hong Kong Museum of History moved to commercial premises in Star House, Tsim Sha Tsui, whereas the Hong Kong Museum of Art remained atop the City Hall building until 1991.
The establishment of the City Museum and Art Gallery not only provided a convergent platform for Western and Chinese art, but also a cradle for local artists and the development of Hong Kong art. The new premises of the Hong Kong Museum of Art in Tsim Sha Tsui was built in 1991 and officially opened by Lady Wilson on November 15 that year. With a total gross floor area of 17,530 square metres the Hong Kong Museum of Art houses galleries to display its permanent collections, namely Contemporary Hong Kong Art, Chinese Antiquities, Historical Pictures and Chinese Fine Art, as well as a gallery for special exhibitions to feature arts from around the world.
The museum has built its collection with a focus on Hong Kong but also looks to the cultures of China and its periphery. The collection, covering Chinese antiquities, Chinese calligraphy and painting, historical pictures, and southeast Asian ceramics with Chinese cultural influences, was acquired through purchases and donations over the years. Donated artefacts and art objects make up 48 per cent of the entire museum collection, which reflects its efforts and success in promoting a culture of donation among collectors.
The Xubaizhai Collection, one of the museum's major collections, consists of more than 600 representative works of Chinese painting and calligraphy donated in 1989 by Mr Low Chuck Tiew (1911-1993), a famous art connoisseur and collector. It encompasses masterpieces from the major schools of the Ming and Qing period. The collection of masterpieces of the Wu and Songjiang Schools, the Six Masters, Shitao, Bada Sharen and the Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou are prized as a world-class treasure trove of Chinese painting and calligraphy art.
Among the collection of Chinese antiquities, the donation of more than 1,200 pieces of tea ware, porcelains and seals by Dr K S Lo (1910-1995) is prominent. In order to showcase this donation and promote Chinese tea culture, the Hong Kong Museum of Art established the Museum of Tea Ware in 1984 as a branch museum, the first of its kind on such a theme.
Promoting Hong Kong art is a core mission of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and art events such as the Hong Kong Art Biennial Exhibition and the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Awards were organised as a platform for displaying local contemporary visual art. The museum is also committed to promoting individual Hong Kong artists and has been active in organising solo exhibitions for the artists. Recent names include Li Yanshan, Wong Po-yeh (Huang Bore), Ding Yanyong, Hon Chi-fun, Wucius Wong, Lin Jen-tong, Ho Chat-yuen, Lau Ping-han and Ha Bik-chuen. In 2008, the museum launched the "Hong Kong Art: Open Dialogue" exhibition series with guest curators and themes covering digital art, ink art and the works of local artists.
Since 2000, the museum has established close partnerships with renowned overseas museums, resulting in notable exhibitions such as "Impressionism - Treasures from the National Collection of France", "Artists and Their Models - Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou" and others, which have been well-received by the public. In the genre of Chinese calligraphy and painting, the museum has jointly organised exhibitions with the Shanghai Museum, the Museum of Liaoning Province and the Palace Museum in Beijing. One of the most memorable was "The Pride of China: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy of the Jin, Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties from the Palace Museum" jointly organised with the Palace Museum, Beijing, which showcased many national treasures and became a talk-of-the-town event.
The Hong Kong Museum of Art is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It is open from 10am to 6pm daily and from 10am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays). Admission is $10 and a half-price concession is available to full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities. Admission is free on Wednesdays.
For further information, call 2721 0116 or visit the Hong Kong Museum of Art's website at www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Arts/en/exhibitions/exhibitions01_jul12_01.html.
Ends/Thursday, October 11, 2012
This painting, "View of Hong Kong from the East", created in 1875, is the first artwork acquired by the City Museum and Art Gallery (forerunner to the Hong Kong Museum of Art). The historic scene of Hong Kong depicted has now become the modern cityscape of Victoria Harbour, revealing the development of our city.
Pictured is the first Curator of the City Museum and Art Gallery, Mr John Warner, at the Hong Kong Children's Art Exhibition 1963. As there were few local art collections when he took up the post, Warner wisely gathered artworks by purchasing entries submitted by locals and inviting artists to donate. Besides encouraging artistic creation and art appreciation, this also helped to exhibit visual art of the time.
Picture shows the opening ceremony of the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware 1984. It was established by the Hong Kong Museum of Art to display the donation of more than 1,000 pieces of the tea ware and seals from Dr K S Lo, and to promote the art of Chinese tea drinking.
Picture shows part of the "Henry Moore Sculpture Exhibition" in 1970, the first of its kind at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. The museum organised another Henry Moore exhibition in 1986 with the assistance of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Army Air Corps. The huge Henry Moore sculptures were transported by RAF helicopters and displayed on both sides of Victoria Harbour. This unprecedented operation attracted considerable public and media attention, with large crowds of spectators lining the promenades to witness this historical event.
Picture shows the exhibition "The Pride of China: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy of the Jin, Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties from the Palace Museum", held at the Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1997. The exhibition attracted a great member of people, who flocked to the museum to see national treasures not previously shown in Hong Kong.
This acrylic painting by Irene Chou of the New Ink Painting Movement, was specially donated to the Hong Kong Museum of Art by the artist as a gift to celebrate its 50th anniversary, reflecting Ms Chou's love for the museum and Hong Kong.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Hong Kong Museum of Art. To celebrate this memorable occasion, the museum has organised an exhibition entitled "Collecting for 50 Years - The People and Their Stories" which was opened today (October 11). Pictured at the cake-cutting ceremony are the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung (fifth right); Deputy Director (Culture) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Ms Cynthia Liu; Acting Assistant Director (Heritage and Museums) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Chan Shing-wai; Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Miss Eve Tam; Chief Curator (Art/Special Projects) of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Mr Tang Hoi-chiu, and other guests.