Art and entrepreneurship fuse in the newly opened Powerlong Museum in Minhang, founded by Xu Jiankang, 65, a Fujian Province-born tycoon who built the Powerlong Group of companies.
The museum is the cultural arm of his Powerlong Group real estate empire. Its grand opening on November 18 drew celebrities and prominent art world figures from across China. The guest list included Liu Yiqian, the billionaire collector who founded the now famous Long Museum in Shanghai, which is also privately owned.
Among the prominent works in the limelight at the opening were an album of 12 landscapes by Qi Baishi (1864-1957) and "The Bund Without Us," a painting by Cai Guoqiang.
The Powerlong is committed to bringing contemporary Chinese art back into the lives of ordinary people.
The 23,000-square-meter museum has 10 exhibition halls. It was built on Xu's personal art collection, which he said he donated to the museum to promote the role of art in contemporary society.
Three permanent collections were unveiled at the opening. The works by Qi Baishi and Cai Guoqiang drew much of the attention.
Qi, who died in 1957 at the age of 93, is famous in Chinese contemporary art circles. He finished the landscapes album in 1933. It is a whimsical watercolor, devoid of the Western influences of many contemporaries.
Qi painted everything from stones and shrimps to vegetables. In the later stages of his life, his focus turned to flowers and birds.
Cai, 60, is a celebrated contemporary Chinese artist based in New York. His 500-meter-long panorama "The Bund Without Us" depicts Shanghai's fabled riverfront as it would look if reclaimed by the wild. Another of his important works, entitled "Sky Ladder," was also on display.