New in 2014: Spink Asian Art Collection

By | December 31, 2014

Spink selection

Over the last 10 days, we’ve highlighted a small number of works of art acquired this year. In reality, we could have spent an entire month celebrating 2014 additions to the collection.

We didn’t have time to mention important acquisitions like a chair made by the Byrdcliffe Colony; a print series by Flemish master engraver Aegidius Sadeler II; a photograph by Emmet Gowin; paintings by Andrew and Jamie Wyeth; and new works by Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock made for their 2013 exhibition here. In other words, 2014 shaped up to be a very good year for the Saint Louis Art Museum’s collection.

In fact, we learned in November that it would be an exceptional year.

That’s when the Art Museum formally accepted a transformative bequest by the late C.C. Johnson Spink and Edith “Edie” Spink of 225 works of art, including more than 200 works of Asian art that range from Chinese ceramics of the Neolithic period to works from Meiji-era Japan.

The Spinks’ Asian art collection was developed with the intent of filling major gaps in the Art Museum’s collection and with a specific goal of allowing the museum to present a complete history of Chinese ceramics from prehistoric times to the end of the imperial system.

“This extraordinary gift is the result of three decades of strategic collecting by Johnson and Edie, who were guided by a shared desire to expand and elevate the Museum’s collection,” Brent R. Benjamin, director of the Saint Louis Art Museum, said when the gift was announced. “I am grateful for their generosity, and all of us at the museum are excited to include their legacy as an essential part of our visitors’ experience.”

The Spink Asian Art Collection primarily comprises works by Chinese artists, although the gift also includes six important Japanese works. The collection includes 83 ceramics, eight works in glass, 52 jades and hardstones, 22 works made from lacquer and other organic materials, and 50 examples of metalwork. Highlights include: