Events  16.06.2020

16 June 2020. Reopening of the new presentation of the permanent collections of the Cernuschi Museum and complementary donation of works by Zao Wou-Ki

The reopening of the Cernuschi Museum, museum of Asian arts of the City of Paris, on June 16th 2020, was the occasion of the new unveiling of the new presentation of the permanent collections decided by its director Eric Lefebvre. This presentation was officially opened on March 4th 2020, but had to close two weeks later because of Covid-19.

The full reorganization of the presentation now allows to better discover the richness of the museum’s collections for the Chinese and Japanese sections, but also for the Vietnamese and Korean sections. The chronological presentation exhibits Asian creation until the 20th Century and also includes contemporary creations.

This new presentation enhances the donations that were done to supplement the collections of Henri Cernuschi, founder of the museum. Among them, Françoise Marquet-Zao’s donation in 2016, consisting of some of her husband’s works together with his personal collection of ancient Chinese pieces, thus came to enrich the Parisian public collections with antiques and increase the presence of Zao Wou-Ki’s works in French museums.

Wandering from one showcase to the other, we discover five bronze pieces from his collection: the ding tripod of the Shang dynasty (circa 1500 – circa 1050 BC), the gui vase and the fanghu vase of the West Zhou dynasty (circa 1050 – 771 BC), the large ding tripod of the Warring States Period (453 – 221 BC) and the duck-shaped incense burner of the West Han dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD). A little further, two Chinese ceramics are presented: the Jun glazed bowl and the celadon glazed dish of the Yuan dynasty (1279 – 1368).


Cernuschi Museum, ding bronze tripod, Shang Dynasty (photo A.H.)

Cernuschi Museum, gui bronze vase, West Zhou Dynasty (photo A.H.)

Cernuschi Museum, fanghu bronze vase, West Zhou Dynasty (photo A.H.)

Cernuschi Museum, ding bronze tripod, Warring States Period photo A.H.)

Cernuschi Museum, duck-shaped incense burner, West Han Dynasty(photo A.H.)

Cernuschi Museum, Jun glazed bowl, Yuan Dynasty (photo Y.H.)

To accompany this reopening, Françoise Marquet-Zao has complemented her first 2016 donation, offering three new original ceramics created by her husband, two of them being exhibited in the museum. The first one, a dish in blue tones, is a new evidence of Zao Wou-Ki’s plastic research around 1954. This dish completes the thin walled small bowls, with the same patterns coming from archaic Chinese signs. But its shape is different as this ceramic is thicker. The artist also seems to play with the blue glazing showing different depths, probably a distant echo of the ancient research of Chinese ceramists.

Cernuschi donation. Dish, circa 1954 (photo Y.H.)

Cernuschi donation 2016. Vases, circa 1954 (photo Y.H.)

To give a comprehensive view of Zao Wou-Ki’s creations as a ceramist, two vases of the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres have also been offered to the museum. These unique pieces have been directly painted by the artist in 2007 using the famous ‘Sèvres blue’, on forms coming from the ancient repertoire of the manufacture, an Anne-Marie Fontaine vase and a Gauvenet vase. The Cernuschi Museum thus becomes the world most important collection of original ceramics by Zao Wou-Ki.

Cernuschi. Donation 2020. Sèvres vase, Anne-Marie Fontaine shape, 2007. All rights reserved

Cernuschi. Donation 2020. Sèvres vase, Gauvenet shape, 2007. All rights reserved