Art Collection


The history of The Christensen Fund art collection:

In 1972, The Christensen Fund began to focus its support on the visual arts and bought its first art collection, a group of Pomo Indian baskets now at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum.

The Christensen Fund joins in mourning the passing in September 2013 of Professor Michael Sullivan, a world authority on modern Chinese art, who has been associated with the Fund for more than half a century.  From 1966 to 1984 he was the founding holder of the Christensen Chair in Asian Art at Stanford, and on relocating to Oxford the Fund continued to support his work and the Chinese collections and gallery at the Ashmolean.  He was also closely associated with the fellowship the Fund established at St Catherine’s College.  It is with great pleasure that we record that his collection, the largest outside of China, has now been bequeathed to Oxford’s Ashmolean

The Christensen Fund joins in mourning the passing in September 2013 of Professor Michael Sullivan, a world authority on modern Chinese art, who has been associated with the Fund for more than half a century. From 1966 to 1984 he was the founding holder of the Christensen Chair in Asian Art at Stanford, and on relocating to Oxford the Fund continued to support his work and the Chinese collections and gallery at the Ashmolean. He was also closely associated with the fellowship the Fund established at St Catherine’s College. It is with great pleasure that we record that his collection, the largest outside of China, has now been bequeathed to Oxford’s Ashmolean

The diverse and rapidly expanding collections were primarily from the geographic regions of Africa and the Pacific Rim – Australia, Oceania, Melanesia and South, Southeast and East Asia. By Allen Christensen’s death in 1989, The Christensen Fund owned approximately 35,000 objects, most of these on loan at various museums in the United States and Australia. Between 1991 and 2001 the Fund donated all of its collections to the following museums and institutions:

The Asian Art Museum, San Francisco: Asian ceramics, lacquers, paintings, arms and armor.

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney: Contemporary Australian paintings.

Art Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne: Melanesian tribal pieces; Australian Aboriginal tribal objects (about 4,000 pieces).

Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth: Contemporary Australian paintings.

The Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA: Kuba textiles collection.

The Honolulu Academy of ArtsIndian and Asian sculptures: Indian, Southeast Asian, Melanesian and Indonesian textiles.

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University: African and Oceanic tribal collections, Indonesian textiles.

LaTrobe University, Melbourne: African artifacts, including Coptic crosses.

The Museum of Victoria, Melbourne: African, Melanesian and Oceanic ethnographic collections.

The Seattle Art Museum: Kuba collection of sculpture and textiles; Japanese folk textiles.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City: Indian, Indonesian and Asian sculpture collections.

The Government of Mexico: Pre-Columbian collection (repatriation of architectural and ceramic pieces).

Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia: Contemporary Australian paintings.

The Huntington Library , Pasadena: The Library of Sir Richard Burton, 19th Century British Explorer and Scholar.