After a $1.5 million gift from June and Simon K. C. Li, the Cleveland Museum of Art will establish a Center for Chinese Paintings Conservation. Their gift matches a $1.5 million challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The formation of the museum’s new center is part of a larger project to remedy what the CMA perceives as a lack of Chinese painting conservation expertise in the United States. In 2013, the CMA partnered with Washington, D.C.’s Freer Sackler museum to begin a training program for conservators working on Chinese painting. Then, in 2014, both museums added to their staffs conservators from China who had at one point worked at such institutions as the Palace Museum in Beijing.
In a statement, William Griswold, the CMA’s director, called the museum’s Chinese painting holdings “a special strength of our collection.” He added, “The shortage of qualified Chinese paintings conservators is a widespread dilemma faced by museums across the country. The generous gift by June and Simon K.C. Li and challenge grant from the Mellon Foundation will enable solutions that will effect great change in the industry and ensure the care of Chinese paintings for generations to come.”