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Home | Articles | Asian Art in London by Jacqueline Simcox

sian Art in London was founded three years ago by London’s leading dealers and auction houses with the aim of creating an annual event to celebrate London as a centre for Asian art, culture and academic excellence in a friendly, sociable and enjoyable atmosphere. Each participant has a London-based fine art business, operating throughout the year and specializing in Asian art. This has encouraged small galleries, private dealers and those with more decorative arts to join the large, well-known companies on an equal basis as members in the venture.

Fung Ming Chip Comprehension, Day/Night Script (1999) Ink on paper. Goedhuis Contemporary. H. 24, W. 24 in.

This year the festivities from November 9–17th follow a similar pattern to the previous two years; some fifty participants offer a wide range of exhibitions of works of art for sale, including both ancient and contemporary art, and covering almost every culture east of the Mediterranean. Visitors are encouraged to explore the wealth of choices and they will be made welcome at each gallery. The participants will open their galleries throughout the weekend of November 10th and 11th for serious exploration, while more party-minded visitors can attend evening receptions on the 11th, 12th and 13th in the galleries of Kensington Church Street and West London, the St. James’s area and Mayfair. Those weary of treading London’s pavements can travel by rickshaw between the galleries. Similarly, the auction houses will be open with evening parties and auction previews held between November 13th and 16th.

Asian Art in London will be formally launched this year with a fund-raising evening party at The Victoria & Albert Museum on November 10th. Tickets for the evening are being sold to raise funds to publish scholarly books on the museum’s Asian collections. All of the Asian galleries will be open for the evening, together with their current exhibitions of Indian Bronzes, Chinese Watercolours and Contemporary Fashion by an Asian designer. Additionally, there will be a superb raffle draw for guests, including a two week holiday in the Far East, a visit to the West Indies and many other enticing prizes. To promote the knowledge and understanding of Asian art, there will be numerous lectures covering a wide range of topics and also gallery talks with a more intimate view of the subject under discussion. In previous years the lectures have attracted a high attendance and have become a popular feature.

It is not only the commercial world of art that is on show in London. In 1998, the inaugural year of Asian Art in London, a superb exhibition of Imperial Chinese porcelain from the Au Bak Ling collection was held at the Royal Academy of Arts through the generous funding of Asia House, which was itself founded to promote the arts of Asia in Britain. Last year a fascinating exhibition of early Chinese art was held at The British Museum and this year the arts of the book will be celebrated at The British Library. The Asian Art Treasures of the John Ritblat Gallery, opening on November 9th, will also be exhibited at the British Library, where on November 11th there will be a special study day. Various other interesting exhibitions will take place at The Victoria & Albert Museum, The British Museum, Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, Brunei Gallery, the Nehru Centre and The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

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