LOS ANGELES, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the largest art museum in the western United States, announced Wednesday the purchase of Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi's painting Untitled (2018) to its permanent collection.
Zeng's painting, measuring almost 12 feet wide and about five square meters in size, is part of a series of abstracted landscapes and will be on display at the LACMA from this month.
The painting, oil on canvas, marks a carefully considered turn to the abstract for the artist, who emerged in the 1990s with his tense, brooding paintings of hospital scenes and urban Chinese men hiding their faces behind masks.
"Zeng Fanzhi is one of the leading figures in the Chinese art world today, and this monumental painting is a major addition to LACMA's permanent collection," Stephen Little, Florence and Harry Sloan curator of Chinese art and department head at the LACMA, said at the gala held at the museum.
The LACMA, which has a collection of nearly 140,000 objects that illuminate 6,000 years of artistic expression across the globe, has strengthened its holdings in Chinese art with major acquisitions including the promised gift of Gerard and Dora Cognie's collection of 400 works of contemporary ink paintings and calligraphy.
"In the past two years, LACMA has greatly strengthened its collection of contemporary Chinese art. As we turn the corner into 2019, we look forward to the March unveiling of this magnificent painting, the June 2 opening of the exhibition The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China," Little said.
"In recent years, LACMA has been building relationships with partners in China while deepening our commitment to the study, interpretation, and display of Chinese art, particularly contemporary art made by Chinese artists," said Michael Govan, CEO of the LACMA.
Govan said that Chinese American banker Dominic Ng and his wife Ellen donated funds to help the museum to purchase the painting, adding that the couple are steadfast supporters of the LACMA and its collaboration with Chinese artists and arts institutions.
"Their exemplary support for the acquisition of Zeng Fanzhi's Untitled to LACMA's growing collection of contemporary Chinese art underscores their commitment to Chinese art and artists, both in the United States and China," Govan said.
"I believe that art can help bridge cultures and promote mutual understanding between people with different perspectives," said Dominic Ng, chairman and CEO of East West Bank, a leading independent bank based in Los Angeles.
"Chinese contemporary art has emerged as one of the most compelling areas of the global art landscape. The addition of a piece by Zeng Fanzhi... exemplifies Michael Govan's vision to showcase a broad range of artistic voices and contributes to the ongoing cultural exchange between the East and the West," he added.
Zeng was born in China's central city of Wuhan in 1964 and graduated from the Hubei Institute of Fine Arts in Wuhan in 1991. As Chinese modern and contemporary paintings have become new favorites for global art investors in recent years, his artworks are getting very popular in the art market.
Auctioned in October 2013 at Sotheby's Hong Kong, one of Zeng's works was sold for 23.3 million U.S. dollars, setting a record for contemporary Asian artwork.