By: Donna Duperron
This week I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Dr. Tei-Fu Chen, co-founder of Sunrider International with his wife, Dr. Oi-Lin. Headquartered in Torrance, Sunrider has grown to be a global enterprise, doing business in over fifty countries and territories since its founding in 1982.
The focus of today’s article is the Chen Art Gallery, a non-profit museum, which houses one of the most important collections of Chinese art in the United States. Open to the public, since 2001, the Chen Art Gallery displays an impressive array of over 1,000 artifacts spanning five thousand years of Chinese history from the earliest Neolithic Era pottery to early 20th Century Creations.
Chen’s collection is divided into sub-categories and includes the simple furnishings of the Ming dynasty, to the lavish decorative stylings of the Qing dynasty. Also, on display are sections dedicated to bronze vessels cast over 3,000 years ago, Buddhist sculptures that highlight the blend of Indian and Chinese artistic styles, and custom ceramics consisting of imperial porcelain and painted pottery. Chen’s collection also extends to Chinese paintings and calligraphy, along with works by artists of non-Chinese descent.
In speaking with Dr. Chen, it was clear that he has had a life lifelong passion for art and history. “History is a mirror that records what happens. I have loved history since I was a little boy. I like to search for the origin and understand where a piece of art fits into time. Every generation has something we can learn from in their lifestyle or thinking,” smiled Chen.
The Gallery, located on the grounds of Sunrider International, has more than fifteen exhibition rooms that are dedicated to the arts antiques of China. In acquiring pieces for the Gallery, Chen confers with specialists, his curator, and antique dealers. “Each year a new exhibit is brought in to refresh the Gallery and to often rest those that have been on exhibit for some time,” explained Chen.
I would like to express my appreciation to Dr. Chen for his time and his sharing of knowledge throughout our conversation. If you have not had the opportunity to visit the Chen Art Gallery, I encourage you to do so. The Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Schedule a tour by calling 310.781.3808. Additional information may be found by visiting www.chenartgallery.org.