Statement from Steven S. Koblik for Press Conference on “Ancient Chinese Bronze Mirrors from the Lloyd Cotsen Collection”
PRESS RELEASE • STATEMENT FROM STEVEN S. KOBLIK • STATEMENT FROM LLOYD COTSEN •
STATEMENT FROM KELUN CHEN • EXHIBITION
Nov. 10, 2011
Good afternoon and welcome. We are pleased that you could take part of your day to be with us for what we consider to be quite a significant announcement. As you know, we are opening a new exhibition to the public on Saturday that showcases a group of ancient Chinese bronze mirrors that never before have been on public display. These objects have been painstakingly collected by Lloyd Cotsen, a Huntington Overseer who pairs a passion for collecting with a very sophisticated eye and a scholar’s intellect and inquisitiveness. This is, I would argue, one of the most important collections of these types of materials in private hands in the world.
As a collections-based institution, The Huntington celebrates the art of collecting, for without it, we would not exist. At the heart of collecting, of course, is the collector, and today we celebrate Mr. Cotsen for his thoughtful approach to the craft.
For this is a story that is coming full circle, and I’m delighted to be among those who will tell it: it’s about an interesting problem. Once you’ve amassed a collection, have studied it, have published about it, what do you do with it? It is a question I have a particular interest in, because it is a conversation I have regularly with prospective donors as we seek to fill gaps in our own collections to help enrich our holdings.
In Lloyd’s case, he is among the most interesting collectors I know, answering the question with a terrific imagination. In thinking through how his collections might best serve mankind going forward, he thinks in terms of the most appropriate institutions in which to place them.
And so it is that we are announcing today that Mr. Cotsen will be giving the collection to the Shanghai Museum at the conclusion of the exhibition at The Huntington in May. His statement says it plainly—after careful study, he selected the Shanghai Museum because it offers the best place for making the materials available for display and education.
We applaud Mr. Cotsen’s goodwill and keen foresight. His spirit is very much in keeping with Henry Huntington’s: a savvy collector who believed in the value of his collections for research and education who essentially handed them on to scholars, students, and the general public in an effort to provide opportunities for scholarship, inquiry, and aesthetic pleasure in perpetuity.
We will now hear from Mr. Kelun Chen, deputy director of the Shanghai Museum. At the conclusion of his comments, we would be happy to take your questions. Thank you.