Treasures Homecoming: The Recent Gift of Chinese Cultural Relics from Mr. Henk Nieuwenhuys


Date:2020-08-07 ~ 2020-10-18
Venue:Shanghai Museum Lobby (1F) and No. 3 Exhibition Hall (4F)

       Mr. Henk Nieuwenhuys was not only a successful businessman in the Netherlands but also known internationally as an eminent art collector. He was the first western person to make a substantial donation to the Shanghai Museum. In 2008, he presented the Shanghai Museum with a superb collection of Chinese export porcelain from the Ming and Qing dynasties, for which we held a special exhibition entitled “Traces of the Trade”. Ten years later, through the generosity of Mr. Nieuwenhuys, his prized Chinese artefacts have come home. The 54 exhibits here include bronzes, ceramics and an ivory pagoda. Their profound historical and cultural value speaks volumes about Mr. Nieuwenhuys’ expertise as a renowned collector of Chinese art. In addition, over the past decade he has dedicated himself to establishing a firm connection between the Shanghai Museum and museums in Europe, making possible a number of international programs and exhibitions.
   Behind such generosity and kindness are, for one, the chemistry between Mr. Nieuwenhuys and the Museum and, for another, his determination to bring Chinese treasure back home. His good will has been well recognized by the Chinese government. He was a two-time laureate of the Shanghai Magnolia Award from the Shanghai municipal government respectively in 2012 and 2014. In 2019, he was granted Foreign Permanent Residency in China, as the first expatriate ever in Shanghai who has obtained this status because of cultural-relics donation.
   The title of the exhibition is derived from the literary expression “He pu zhu huan”—“Pearls returned to Hepu”—that describes something of great value that was lost and has been returned. This homecoming of Chinese treasures forms a special bond between Mr. Nieuwenhuys, in his role as an envoy of friendship from the Netherlands, and Shanghai, a pearl-like city nurtured by its mother river, the Huangpu. The works shown here, embodying the intense love of their donor for Chinese art, will be treasured in their new permanent home at the Shanghai Museum.