The Hong Kong Museum of Art is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Established in 1962, it was first housed on the top three floors of the City Hall, known as theCity Hall Museum and Art Gallery, moving to its present purpose-built premises near the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in 1991.
The city’s first art museum, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, has collected the best examples of art for the public interest to preserve China’s cultural heritage and promote art with a local focus. Its collections number over 15,700 objects, including Chinese paintings and calligraphy, antique Chinese treasures, paintings of historical significance, and creations by local artists.
But it is not the artefacts that matter the most, but the passion and stories that are hidden behind each object. Since its inception, many artists and people behind the scenes have been crucial in shaping the museum and its history. To celebrate and commemorate this occasion, the museum is proud to be showcasing 50 stories in the exhibition: Collecting for 50 Years – The People and Their Stories.
One example of these stories is of Mr Low Chuck-tiew, who was not only an art lover, but also valued his collection as he valued his life. In 1979, Mr Low was thrown from a vehicle during a serious traffic accident at the Kowloon entrance of Hong Kong’s Cross-Harbour Tunnel. Despite a serious head injury, he held two albums of paintings tightly in his arms. In order to make his precious collection available for public appreciation, Mr Low generously donated it to the Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1992.
Another example is The Art of Henry Moore exhibition, organised by the Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1986. With the assistance of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Army Air Corps, huge sculptures by Henry Moore were transported by RAF helicopters and displayed on both sides of Victoria Harbour. This unprecedented operation attracted considerable public and media attention, with large crowds of spectators lining the promenades to witness the historic event.
These stories are a recollection of people and anecdotes associated with the museum, built up over the past half-century as the museum heads towards its next 50 years.