Legendary Swiss art collector Uli Sigg has donated $170 million worth of contemporary Chinese art to the M+ museum in Hong Kong, which is scheduled to open in 2017. A former ambassador to China, Sigg started collecting works by artists such as Ai Weiwei, Zhang Xiaogang and Fang Lijun in the 1970s and has built one of the world's great collections of Chinese art. Under the agreement, he will gift 1,463 works and M+ will pay around $23 million for an additional 47 works from the 70s and 80s. M+ director Lars Nittve said this is common practice among museums when receiving major collections from donors.
“By joining forces with M+, the artworks will ultimately come full circle back to China as I have always hoped they would,” Sigg said in a statement. “My intention is to return something to China for what it has allowed me to experience over the past 33 years: an incredible journey whose most intense core has been formed by so many encounters with Chinese artists. This is my contribution: to enable these artists to have a space within M+ where they will communicate with an international audience, and where they will meet with a Chinese public.”
Image: Uli Sigg with Ai Weiwei's Uli Sigg