Summer of CHINA closing soon

Posted on August 23rd, 2011

The Emperor’s Private Paradise Closes September 11
Last chance to see never-before-seen objects from the Forbidden City

Milwaukee, Wis. – Following a summer of rave reviews and much praise, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Summer of CHINA exhibition series is entering its final days. The feature exhibition, The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City, is on view through Sunday, September 11, 2011, leaving only a few short weeks to experience these objects outside of China.

The Museum is one of only three museums in the world to showcase over ninety objects of ceremony and leisure—from paintings and garden components to furniture and cloisonné—from the Qianlong Garden and the Forbidden City in Beijing, never before seen by the public.

“The overwhelming public response over The Emperor’s Private Paradise has been inspiring,” said Daniel Keegan, director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. “Attendance has been higher than expected for this must-see exhibition, and to be able to share this experience with Museum visitors has been a treat.”

A two-acre jewel in the immense 180-acre Forbidden City complex, the Qianlong (pronounced chee’en lohng) Garden is praised for its unique combination of Northern and Southern Chinese garden design elements and interiors. Built in the eighteenth century, the garden complex was part of the Qianlong emperor’s ambitious twelve-acre retreat, commissioned in anticipation of his retirement. Buddhist shrines, open-air gazebos, sitting rooms, libraries, theaters, and gardens were interspersed with bamboo groves and other natural arrangements. In 2001, the Palace Museum and the World Monuments Fund (WMF) began the restoration of the Qianlong Garden’s twenty-seven buildings, pavilions, outdoor elements—and the objects that would later travel to the United States in The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City.

The Museum is the last destination for the exhibition before these treasures are returned to China.

“This is the public’s last chance to see these objects, because once they are back in China, they will be reinstalled in the restored gardens and will not travel again,” said Keegan. “If you haven’t experienced them yet, do it now.”

The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City was organized by the Peabody Essex Museum in partnership with the Palace Museum and in cooperation with the World Monuments Fund and has been made possible through generous support from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and American Express. Additional support was provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and by ECHO (Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations), a program of the U.S. Department of Education.

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s Summer of CHINA is presented by BMO Financial Group, Bucyrus, Concordia University Wisconsin, Harley-Davidson Motor Company® and The Harley-Davidson Foundation, Johnson Controls, The Lai Family Foundation, and Rockwell Automation. Additional support is provided by Baird, Brady Corporation, Einhorn Family Foundation, Foley & Lardner LLP, The Freeman Foundation, and M&I Wealth Management, with media sponsorship provided by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Time Warner Cable.

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s far-reaching holdings include more than 25,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day. With a history dating back to 1888, the Museum houses a collection with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and folk and self-taught art. The Museum includes the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, named by Time magazine as “Best Design of 2001.” For more information, please visit www.mam.org.