University of Michigan art museum expands collection of Chinese ceramics with $ 5 million giveaway


ANN ARBOR – William Weese, longtime supporter of the University of Michigan Art Museum and UM alumnus, donated an art and endowment collection with a combined value of approximately $ 5 million dollars to the museum.

The pieces, some dating from 3000 BCE, expand UMMA’s collection of Chinese ceramics.

The donation will also launch a new fund to support programming and scholarships around ceramic arts, which will help the museum position itself as a national leader in ceramics and Asian art, according to the art curator. Asian from UMMA Natsu Oyobe.

“This incredible collection includes many objects representative of several major periods in the history of Chinese ceramics, with particular force in the art of the Ming and Qing dynasties,” Oyobe said in a statement.

The collection donated by Weese contains more than 1,000 ceramics and decorative arts from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and its value is estimated at $ 3.35 million.

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“Having works of art spanning such a long period will allow the museum not only to tell the story of the advancement of techniques, trends and tastes in Chinese ceramics, but also how these trends and techniques have infiltrated the wider and more global scene of the ceramic arts ”. reads a UMMA version.

Weese said that Chinese art and ceramics had fascinated him all his life.

Guanyin, China, Qing dynasty (18th century), Chinese white porcelain with glaze. Promised gift of William C. Weese, MD, LSA ’65. (University of Michigan Museum of Art)

“I’ve been studying and collecting Chinese art and ceramics since the early 1980s – the craftsmanship and history of the works has fascinated me my entire life,” Weese said in a statement. “

My goal in donating this collection to the University of Michigan is both to preserve it for generations to come, but also to help nurture the same love and passion for exploring technique and art. story that I have developed over the years. I hope the students will embrace this love. I hope the community will see it as well. “

A William C. Weese, MD endowment of $ 1.7 million will also be created for the ceramic arts to “develop, promote and implement programs to promote the education, appreciation and understanding of ceramic arts ”.

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The endowment fund will support new ceramic art commissions, museum staff, exhibitions, student internships or scholarships, guest curators, consultants, ongoing research, acquisition of works of art , outreach efforts, program development and more.

A traveling exhibition scheduled for 2022 titled “Clay as a Soft Power” will explore the role ceramics played in post-WWII diplomacy.

“We are extremely grateful to the Weese family for their generosity,” Oyobe said in a statement. “I just know that the passion and love they felt for these pieces will continue to live on at UMMA and inspire a new generation of ceramic interest and scholarships.”

Together with his wife Lynn, Weese established an Asian Art Fund in 2017 to support student internships at UMMA, particularly the study of Asian art.

Visitors to UMMA can see some pieces from the collection as early as fall 2021.

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