UM Art Museum receives $ 5 million in Chinese ceramics, endowment



William Weese donated more than $ 3 million worth of Chinese ceramics to the University of Michigan Art Museum as part of a larger donation of $ 5 million. // Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Art Museum at Ann Arbor received a $ 5 million donation that includes ceramics and an endowment that will expand its collection of Chinese ceramics.

William Weese, a former and long-time supporter of the museum, provided the gift, which will create a new fund to support scholarships and programming around the ceramic arts.

“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,” explains Natsu Oyobe, curator of Asian art at the museum.

Weese donated a collection valued at $ 3.35 million that includes more than 1,000 ceramics and decorative arts from the Chinese Neolithic period to the Ming and Qing dynasties, with pieces dating from 3,000 BCE to the mid-19th century.e century.

Having works that span such a vast period will allow the museum to highlight the advancement of techniques, trends and tastes in Chinese ceramics, as well as how these trends and techniques have infiltrated the global ceramic arts scene. .

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

The donation will also create an endowment of $ 1.7 million to establish the William C. Weese, MD Endowment for Ceramic Arts to develop programs to promote education and appreciation of the ceramic arts.

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

“We are extremely grateful to the Weese family for their generosity,” says Oyobe. “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.”

In 2017, Weese and his wife Lynn created the William C. Weese, MD and Lynn Wetherbee Weese Internship in the Asian Art Fund. It supports student internship opportunities at the museum.

Weese has a career in pulmonology. Some pieces from the Weeses collection will be on display at the museum this fall. Visitors to the museum online can explore the collection with interactive features and curator commentary.


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