The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has announced the largest and most significant gift of Chinese paintings and calligraphy in its history from collector Wan-go H.C. Weng and his family.
Comprising a hundred and eighty-three objects acquired by and passed down through six generations of Weng's family, the Wan-go H.C. Weng Collection spans thirteen centuries and five imperial dynasties, with a focus on art from the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) eras, and is noted for its quality, abundance of work by great Chinese masters, condition, and well-documented provenance. Weng's great-great-grandfather, scholar Weng Tonghe (1830–1904), assembled the core of the collection, which encompasses a hundred and thirty paintings, thirty-one works of calligraphy, eighteen ink rubbings, and four textiles.
Weng is a longtime supporter of the museum and has donated twenty-one additional works over the last decade, including the 53-foot-long scroll 10,000 Miles along the Yangzi River (1699, Wang Hui), to mark his hundredth birthday. "I started looking at Chinese paintings very early on. My whole life is connected to Chinese paintings and calligraphy," said Weng. "The first museum I ever visited in the U.S. was the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and it became my museum. I am so happy that both collections are together now — it's almost like destiny."
"This collection represents a range of artworks — dynamically painted landscapes and flowers, depictions of great and legendary figures from Chinese cultural history, and expressive, poetic works of calligraphy — that will beautifully complement the MFA's existing masterpieces," said Matthew Teitelbaum, the museum's Ann and Graham Gund Director. "We are grateful for Mr. Weng's tireless research and dedication to scholarship, and are committed to sharing his extraordinary collection with future generations."
(Photo credit: Nancy Berliner/MFA Boston)