Odysseys of Art: Masterpieces Collected by the Princes of Liechtenstein

Tabletop with coat of arms of Prince Karl Eusebius I von Liechtenstein, Giuliano di Piero Pandolfin
Tabletop with coat of arms of Prince Karl Eusebius I von Liechtenstein, Giuliano di Piero Pandolfin

The Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM), a new cultural landmark in Hong Kong, and the world-renowned Liechtenstein Princely Collections announce that they will present “Odysseys of Art: Masterpieces Collected by the Princes of Liechtenstein” from 9 November 2022 through 20 February 2023 with LGT Private Banking (LGT) as Principal Sponsor. This is the first time the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein (the Collections) in Europe are displayed in Hong Kong, showcasing over 120 priceless treasures from the Collections. Amongst the highlights are masterpieces by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) and Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641), two of the most distinguished seventeenth-century European painters of the Baroque period.

This exhibition is highly significant as it is HKPM’s first major special exhibition after its opening exhibitions, which have an exclusive focus on Palace Museum’s loans, as well as the museum’s first exhibition featuring European masterpieces in dialogue with Chinese art and culture. This exhibition articulates HKPM’s vision and mission of advancing dialogue among world civilisations, reinforcing Hong Kong’s positioning as a centre for cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world.

Liechtenstein Princely Collections – one of the world’s largest and most significant art collections

The House of Liechtenstein is one of the oldest noble lineages in Europe. The princes of Liechtenstein have collected art for more than four hundred years, establishing one of the largest and most important art collections in the world today.

Co-curated by the teams of experts from the HKPM and the Liechtenstein Princely Collections, the highly anticipated exhibition will showcase over 120 masterpieces, including paintings, prints, tapestries, sculptures, and decorative art objects selected from over 30,000 works in the Princely Collections. Through these stunning works, visitors will discover the passion for art and the collecting practices of the Princes of Liechtenstein as well as the exchanges between China and Europe in art and architecture throughout the centuries.

Divided into eight thematic sections, the exhibition casts new light on the Princely House of Liechtenstein’s history of art collecting, featuring five princes whose passion for art shaped the Princely Collections. Each of the featured princes enriched the Collections through their unique interest in and approach to art collecting. Prince Karl I started collecting art systematically in the seventeenth century, and Prince Johann Adam Andreas I acquired a great number of masterpieces by Rubens and Van Dyck. In the eighteenth-century Prince Joseph Wenzel I expanded and diversified the Collections, and Prince Alois II in the nineteenth century commissioned some of the most famous works of the Biedermeier era. Their legacy is continued and complemented by the current prince regnant Prince Hans-Adam II, who also promotes art conservation. Through the Chinese ceramics the princes collected and the gardens they commissioned, visitors can appreciate the influence of Chinese art and culture on European decorative arts and architecture.

The Largest Presentation of Masterpieces by Baroque painters Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck in Hong Kong

Among the Collections’ crown jewels are the works by two of the most distinguished and influential seventeenth-century painters Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. Rubens is known as “the prince of painters and the painter of the princes” due to his frequent service for royal clients. A collaborator of Rubens, Van Dyck was appointed court painter by King Charles I of England. Both painters were legendary and left a rich cultural legacy through their powerful and expressive works with vibrant palette and dynamic composition. A total of 36 major works by the two masters, including Mars and Rhea Silvia, The Discovery of the Infant Erichthonius, and Portrait of Maria de Tassis, will be presented at the exhibition, making it the largest assemblage of such masterpieces in Hong Kong.

Dr Louis Ng, Museum Director of the HKPM, said, “The Hong Kong Palace Museum strives to present the highest-quality exhibitions that balance the artistic, academic, and historical elements. We are honoured to present the prestigious Princely Collections in Hong Kong for the very first time.  This exhibition is a testimonial to the HKPM’s efforts to forge international partnerships with other art and cultural institutions, reinforcing Hong Kong’s position as a hub for art and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world. We look forward to welcoming our visitors to experience the exquisite artworks from the Collections assembled over the past four hundred years and the profound dialogues between Chinese and European culture over the centuries.” 

H.S.H. Prince Max von und zu Liechtenstein, Chairman LGT, said, “In an increasingly polarized world, there is an opportunity for art to foster mutual understanding. LGT is proud to sponsor this exhibition of our collection in Hong Kong, where we first opened our doors in 1986. Our family, a passionate collector of art for more than 500 years, is honoured to collaborate with the HKPM to share key pieces from our collection with the people in Hong Kong.”

Dr Johann Kräftner, Director of the Princely Collections, said, “The exhibition portrays the Collections in a new light, creating interesting entry points for visitors to understand the unique collecting practices of the Princes of Liechtenstein. The exhibition will give people in Hong Kong a rare opportunity to view a wide selection of works from one of the most important private art collections in the world and to observe the considerable influence of Chinese and Asian art, culture, design, and architecture in Europe through centuries.”