Art of generosity

By Lin Qi | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-03 08:20
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Timeless Warmth at Tsinghua University Art Museum displays artworks from the collection of late German collector Peter Ludwig and his wife Irene. Visitors admire Foot Soldier with a Bird by Pablo Picasso at the exhibition. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

Exhibition at Tsinghua University pays tribute to collector patrons whose donations helped many view great works, Lin Qi reports.

A general goal of art collectors is to have their assemblies shown to as many people as possible, so that the value of art in human creativity can both be appreciated and passed down generations.

Late German collector Peter Ludwig once said that the "incomparable brilliance" of artists is demonstrated when their artworks appear before people over and over again, which attests to the "eternal humanity "inherent in the styles of times. "Man lives and loves, playing his role and presents himself. He dreams, despairs, as well as hopes. He fights and perseveres."

In November 1996, an exhibition opened at the National Art Museum of China, in Beijing, showing a collection of Western artworks donated by Ludwig and his wife, Irene, earlier that year. Ludwig died four months before the show's launch. Since then, the Ludwig collection — comprising some 89 pieces of modern and contemporary art — has been shown in rotation at the NAMOC, and has also traveled to other cities across the country.

Through the exhibition, many people in China have seen works by celebrated figures of Western art whom they heard little or had known only by reading books or magazines, such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney, among others.

Now, selected works from this collection are on display at an exhibition, titled Timeless Warmth, at Tsinghua University Art Museum, through Nov 30.

Wu Weishan, director of the NAMOC, says through their lives, Peter and Irene Ludwig were committed to collecting art and carrying on research, by which the couple explored the rules of the world and understood humans. Their assembly presents an expansive view of Western art in a long timespan that can be regarded "an undertaking of magnificence", he says.

"And they shared what they learned from art by donating or lending works to museums for display. Because of their insight and openness, part of their former collection has been at the National Art Museum of China for 26 years," Wu says.

He says to further carry on the Ludwig's spirit of sharing, the NAMOC has so far presented the collection at 14 culture venues in 11 cities nationwide, receiving more than a million visitors and bridging cultures.

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