Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  China News  




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















SINO DAILY
US billionaire brings Dutch painters to China's masses
By Ben Dooley
Beijing (AFP) June 17, 2017


Standing in a dimly-lit gallery space in China's National Museum, the owner of the world's only privately-held Vermeer gazed at the small oil painting for a long moment, before showing it to the assembled press.

Since American billionaire Tom Kaplan purchased the piece in 2008, it has spent most of its time on loan to various museums around the world.

When the investor -- who made his fortune betting on precious metals and natural gas -- and his wife began buying up works by 17th century Dutch painters in 2003, their goal was to take "paintings from the private domain and return them to the public", he said.

Now the collection is set to find its biggest audience yet when a selection of around 70 of its more than 250 works goes on show from Saturday through September 3 just steps from the mausoleum of Communist China's founder Mao Zedong on Tiananmen Square.

China is the first stop on a world tour of the works, known as the Leiden Collection after the Dutch town where many of its contributors plied their trade during the European nation's golden age.

After three months in Beijing, the exhibition will move to a private museum in Shanghai before heading to Russia and then the United Arab Emirates.

The National Museum, according to officials, has passed the Louvre to become the world's most visited, and if all goes according to plan, the exhibition will see hundreds of thousands of visitors flood through its doors.

While the Vermeer is a showstopper, the exhibit is built around the Kaplans' collection of 11 Rembrandts and focuses on the artist's evolution and influence on his contemporaries.

It is a major step towards achieving the couple's goal of promoting the Dutch master's legacy to an international audience, an effort which Kaplan believes will be greatly boosted by a positive reception in China.

"The cultural influence of China is going to multiply in the next decade," he said, adding that the painter's future will "be very different depending on the way China reacts to his art".

"The country will hopefully embrace Rembrandt for the genius he is."

- 'Beauty is truth' -

Kaplan expresses a fervent belief in the transformative power of art, promoting his favourite painter with an almost missionary zeal.

The investor discovered the artist during a visit to the New York Museum of Metropolitan Art when he was six years old, sparking a life-long obsession with the Dutch master.

He and his wife began collecting Rembrandts after a chance encounter in 2003 with a renowned art expert, who informed him that many of the paintings remained in private hands and were available for purchase.

The couple soon began snatching up works from the era, buying "on average a painting a week for five years," Kaplan said.

He believes Rembrandt's power lies in his universality and the revolutionary message hidden in his work: "Beauty is truth. It's humanity. That's our salvation."

Rembrandt lived in an era when the Netherlands was a global trading powerhouse in the 17th century, something that should resonate with many Chinese visitors to the exhibition, who are grappling with their own country's sudden access to wealth.

"We believe very strongly that perhaps uniquely Rembrandt can serve as (a) bridge," he said.

"(Rembrandt) is truly a universal artist from whose DNA we've seen art all over the world be able to find its freedom and liberation."

- Beware of riches -

As attendees leave the exhibition, they will be confronted by a wall of paintings captioned with an admonition to "Beware of Riches."

It is a timely, if perhaps unintentional, warning for a country that is grappling with rampant corruption, as well as a spiritual malaise linked to what many see as increasingly pervasive materialism.

While the exhibition is expected to receive a warm welcome in China, the underlying message might find a less eager audience.

The concept of "universal values" is not a popular one in modern China, where the government of President Xi Jinping has demonstrated an almost reflexive distaste for the kinds of "Western" ideals Kaplan embraces.

But the billionaire has no interest in lecturing. Rembrandt, he said, speaks for himself.

SINO DAILY
Backpacks, books and life jackets: Time for school in China
Dazu, China (AFP) June 15, 2017
After school, a dozen children strap on life jackets under their backpacks before boarding a flat-bottomed boat in southwest China. A 60-year-old man then sinks a pole into the green waters of the Xiangshuitan reservoir to push the punt in the daily, half-hour-long trip between the primary school and the pupils' village. He is none other than the school principal. "I do not have a ch ... read more

Related Links
China News from SinoDaily.com

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

SINO DAILY
Moon or Mars - humanity's next stop

China's space station to help maintain co-orbital telescope

Seeds of 5,000-year-old tree bud after returning from space

Reusable craft are in CASIC's plans

SINO DAILY
IMF raises China growth forecast, urges faster reforms

French miner signs Guinea bauxite deal with Franco-Asian consortium

ECB swaps some dollar reserves for renminbi

Britain can stay in EU but perks will end: Verhofstadt

SINO DAILY
SINO DAILY
Trump says US committed to NATO's mutual defense pledge

Juncker says Europe can no longer 'outsource' protection

Japan clears way for first emperor abdication in over 200 years

Pentagon praises 'very helpful' Russia in southern Syria

SINO DAILY
Japan court clears way for nuclear reactor restarts

AREVA-EWN consortium to dismantle the Reactor Pressure Vessel at Brunsbuttel

UNIST improves remote detection of hazardous radioactive substances

German court nukes tax on power firms

SINO DAILY
Thales opens CyberLab facility in Belgium for training against attacks

SeaGlass brings transparency to cell phone surveillance

Saab starts cyber-security company

'Tallinn Manual 2.0' -- the rulebook for cyberwar

SINO DAILY
Japan court clears way for nuclear reactor restarts

AREVA-EWN consortium to dismantle the Reactor Pressure Vessel at Brunsbuttel

UNIST improves remote detection of hazardous radioactive substances

German court nukes tax on power firms

SINO DAILY
It's a breeze: How to harness the power of the wind

ADB: Asia-Pacific growth tied to renewables

GE Energy Financial Services Surpasses $15 Billion in Renewable Energy Investments

U.S. states taking up wind energy mantle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement