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James Ulak. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: New Collections - The Robert O. Muller Collection

When the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery opened 25 years ago, it featured six focused exhibitions highlighting gifts and loans from the Sackler family. Four were dedicated to Chinese topics, while two others featured ancient Near Eastern art and South Asian sculpture. The final gallery introduced selections from the Vever collection of Islamic manuscripts, which had been acquired by the Smithsonian the previous year. This inaugural installation remained intact for 18 months before changes were made to provide a setting for ‘Timur and the Princely Vision’, the first loan exhibition to be held in the Sackler (1989). The past two-and-a-half decades have seen profound changes to the Sackler’s permanent holdings through transformative gifts of important collections. Having expanded more than tenfold in areas as diverse as Islamic art, Chinese archaeology, Southeast Asian ceramics, Japanese graphics and contemporary Asian art, the Sackler promises to continue to influence scholarship through research on the fields represented in its permanent collection.

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