BEIJING – Governor Bob McDonnell today signed an historic cultural exchange agreement to bring “Treasures from the Forbidden City,” a showcase of approximately 200 objects from Beijing’s fabled Palace Museum to Virginia in the summer of 2014. The Palace Museum signatory was its director, Zheng Xinmiao. Also attending were Alex Nyerges, director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Li Ji, Palace Museum executive deputy director, Robin Nicholson, VMFA deputy director for art and education, and Li Jian, VMFA curator for East Asian art.
Speaking on the agreement, Governor McDonnell remarked, “This is a historic partnership for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace Museum in Beijing. ‘Treasures from the Forbidden City’ will be a boon for Virginia Tourism and the exchange will allow the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to showcase part of its magnificent collection in the most attended museum in the world. I thank the representatives from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Palace Museum, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and others who made this exchange possible. We eagerly anticipate the arrival of this showcase in Richmond.”
Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson added, “We are pleased by this unique opportunity for the Virginia Fine Arts Museum to showcase pieces from Beijing’s Palace Museum for Virginians and others to enjoy. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is one of the finest comprehensive museums in the nation.”
This relationship will also result in a reciprocal exhibition from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ comprehensive collection. VMFA will be the first US museum to present an exhibition of its collections at the Palace Museum.
About the Palace Museum
Established in 1925, the Palace Museum was installed in the imperial palace of two consecutive dynasties: the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing (1644-1911). The magnificent architecture, also known as the Forbidden City, and the vast holding of the imperial collections of paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, and decorative objects make it one of the most prestigious museums in China and the world at large. In 1961 the imperial palace was designated by the State Council as one of China's foremost-protected cultural heritage sites and in 1987 was made a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Palace Museum is the largest and most attended museum in the world with over 11 million visitors annually. By comparison last year the Louvre in Paris drew about 5 million.
About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
VMFA is a state agency chartered by the General Assembly of Virginia and with a Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor. With a collection of art that spans the globe and more than 5,000 years, plus a wide array of special exhibitions, the museum is recognized as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. The museum’s permanent collection encompasses more than 23,000 works of art, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside Russia and one of the nation’s finest collections of American art, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. VMFA is home to acclaimed collections of English Silver and Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British Sporting and Modern & Contemporary art, as well as renowned South Asian, Himalayan and African art. In May 2010, VMFA opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its 75-year history. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus fun after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide Partnership program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. General admission is free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum.