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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting to be shown at MFA from Sept. 2019

Li Bai's night revel in peach and plum
 garden
, 1650, Chen Hongshou

SEPTEMBER 14, 2019–MARCH 29, 2020
Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting: Family and Friends
In 2018, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), received the largest and most significant gift of Chinese paintings and calligraphy in its history: the Weng Family Collection, comprising 183 objects that were acquired by and passed down through six generations of a single family. In September 2019, the MFA will open the first in a series of three exhibitions celebrating the landmark donation made by Wan-go H. C. Weng, a longtime Museum supporter and one of the most respected collectors and connoisseurs of Chinese painting in the U.S.
Featuring approximately 20 masterpieces from the gift, the first installation explores the theme of family and friends. Among the highlights are works by some of the greatest masters from the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties, which demonstrate the close association of painting and calligraphy with human relationships in Chinese art. The intimate Landscape of Suzhou Sceneries (1484–1504) album describes Shen Zhou’s travels with friends around his home region, while Nine Letters to Home (after 1523), written by Wen Zhengming to his wife and sons, portray an emotionality not usually seen in the artist’s more formal works. Depicting a powerful salt merchant and art collector,Portrait of An Qi in His Garden (1698) is a collaboration between two friends, Wang Hui and Jiao Bingzhen, both celebrated court artists of the day. The most recent piece in the exhibition is a handscroll painted by Wan-go H. C. Weng himself, Elegant Gathering at the Laixiju Studio (1990). The contemporary work commemorates a momentous gathering of friends—including six of the world’s most respected historians of Chinese paintings—held at the collector’s home in 1985.

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