From the museum press release, 9 June 2010
The exceptional collection of one hundred sixty-two pieces of faience and porcelain that was constituted by Gustaaf Hamburger and his wife Clara, née Gerzon, was generously offered to the Musée Ariana in 2007 by their daughter, the museum’s faithful friend and patron Clare van Beusekom-Hamburger. The collection comprises a number of Chinese Famille Verte porcelain pieces from the Kangxi period (1662-1722), among them a remarkable group with “powder blue” grounds, Famille Rose porcelain items including some top-quality “eggshell” ruby-back plates from the Yongzheng period (1723-1735), 18th-century polychrome Delft faience, a small but outstanding Italian group of historiated and lustred maiolica, and a few European porcelain objects such as a Dutch dinner set of excellent quality and a pair of Sèvres green ground ornamental vases.
The collection is both characteristic of Dutch taste, with its large proportion of faïence and porcelain from Holland and China, and original, as shown by the diversity of shapes and the polychrome decorations of its objects. Figurines, zoo-morph boxes, tulip vases, ornamental plates, vases and jars are displayed alongside dinner plates and dishes decorated with Chinese motifs, mythological subjects and Dutch landscapes. The eminently decorative aspect of the collection is reinforced by the large number of pairs or coherently grouped pieces. This spectacular collection was built up with passion and discernment over the last century by acquisitions from well-known antiquarians and auction houses in the Netherlands, New York and Paris, notably at Hamburger Frères, a firm under the direction of Gustaaf Hamburger’s uncles.
This first-class donation enhances and completes the Musée Ariana’s collections in several major domains. Such a magnificent collection deserves both a publication and an exhibition in its honour. To this end, in-depth studies with the help of distinguished European experts and extensive restorations have been undertaken. At the time of the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire’s Centennial, the present exhibition pays tribute to the generosity of collectors and patrons with regard to our institutions.