Mr. and Mrs. Kao Ling-mei befriended Zhang Daqian in the mid-1930s. One of the few professional photographers in China in the 1930s, Kao found a kindred spirit in Zhang, and the two harboured a genuine admiration for each other’s artistic mastery. The Kaos were ardent supporters of Zhang and the Mei Yun Tang Collection includes many works acquired from the artist’s solo exhibitions. As dear friends to the artist for over 50 years, the Kaos also received many of Zhang’s prized works as gifts for Chinese New Year and birthdays as wells as tokens of friendship and gratitude. The Mei Yun Tang Collection also comprises a number of Zhang’s landscapes and artistic renderings of his extensive excursions with friends, as well as didactic works and painting manuals for the Kao’s children. This extraordinary body of work reveals the close friendship between the celebrated artist and his dear friends for over 50 years.
Works form the Mei Yun Tang Collection have been exhibited worldwide in the past decades, among them the inauguration of the Art Gallery of the Hong Kong City Hall in 1962; the Mei Yun Tang Collection of Chang Dai-chien Paintings Exhibition jointly organised by Mei Yun Tang and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1993 and in Tokyo’s Shoto Museum of Art in 1995. The works have never been shown in public since the last exhibition in Singapore Art Museum in 1997 until certain part of the collection were released in Sotheby’s in 2011 and 2013.
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