With nostalgia, I take pride and satisfaction in this exhibition and catalogue. Nostalgia inasmuch as it brings me back more than twenty years to the period when accompanied by the late Verena Bolinder-Müller, a friend as good as anyone could have, I travelled all over China. We visited artists and scholars in all the provinces of China, except two, and from whom we acquired most of the prints that are included in this exhibition. Those were hectic but fun days when we were met and entertained by the nicest people possible. Bar the occasional buyer, we were the first serious collectors of contemporary prints and the artists welcomed us to their studios, whether in their academy or their private home. Verena and I had previously agreed that our mission was to encourage the artists by buying their prints, not to take advantage of them and not to bargain on price. If we considered that an artist was asking an inflated price, we declined to buy.
The word soon got around and we rarely encountered an artist asking unreasonable prices. Over the years, during twenty-five trips to China, we assembled the considerable collection of modern Chinese woodblock prints that is the pride and backbone of the Muban Educational Trust today. I share in that pride.
It is very satisfying to see how these prints, individually acquired here and there over time, are assembled to reflect one theme and topic, and how the exhibition increases the dimension and content that is contained in the individual prints. I can do no more than admire the energy and effort of the persons involved in creating this very original and unique exhibition. I especially thank David Barker, Mary Ginsberg, Zheng Haiyao, Anne Farrer and He Weimin, and to the many other individuals who have contributed their time and knowledge, I would also like to offer my warmest thanks.
Christer von der Burg
Chairman of the Muban Educational Trust