UM Museum of Art receives $5 million Chinese ceramics gift
University of Michigan (UM) alumnus William Weese recently present a gift of art and endowment with a combined value of around $5 million to UM Museum of Art (UMMA).
Part of the gift valued at $3.35 million contains more than 1,000 ceramics and decorative arts from China's Neolithic period of the Ming and Qing dynasties, with some pieces dating back to as early as 3,000 B.C.
Another part of the gift is a $1.7-million William C. Weese MD Endowment for Ceramic Arts, which is aimed to "develop, promote and implement programs to further the education, appreciation and understanding of ceramic arts."
"I have been studying and collecting Chinese art and ceramics since the early 1980s. The craftsmanship and history of the works has fascinated me my entire life," Weese said. "My goal in gifting this collection to the University of Michigan is both to preserve it for generations to come, but also to help foster that same love and passion for the exploration of technique and history that I've developed over the years. I hope students embrace this love. I hope the community comes out to see it as well."
Having works of art that span such a vast time period will allow the museum not only to tell the progression of techniques, trends and tastes in Chinese ceramics, but how those trends and techniques filtered into the broader, more global ceramic arts scene, UM exclaimed in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday.
"We are incredibly grateful to the Weese family for their generosity," said Natsu Oyobe, curator of Asian art at UMMA. "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 interest and scholarship for ceramics."
The gift will greatly strengthen UMMA's place as a leader in ceramic arts and continue to build its nationally renowned collection of Asian art, Oyobe added.
Select pieces from the Weese's collection will be on exhibit at UMMA as early as fall 2021.