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Doctor Leaves Gallery $60M Art Gift

September 9, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Vienna-born psychiatrist has left $60 million worth of Chinese antiquities to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, making the nation’s capital the premier center for the study of Chinese art.

The Washington Post reported today that the gift comes from Paul Singer and the late Arthur M. Sackler, whose children and foundations supported Singer’s purchases in the last years of his life.

Singer, who died in 1997, collected art obsessively while living in a tiny apartment in Summit, N.J. Most of the 5,000 objects he collected were more than 1,000 years old.

``Anyone who knew about Chinese art knew about Dr. Singer and his collection,″ said Thomas Lawton, director emeritus of the Freer Gallery of Art, also in Washington. ``He had his 5,000 objects stashed in every corner of the place (apartment).″

Singer’s gift, which is especially strong in small, provincial objects, makes ancient Chinese art the richest of the fields covered jointly by the holdings of the Sackler and the Freer.

The two institutions, joined underground by a series of tunnels and separated only by a glass wall, share a staff and function almost as a single entity within the Smithsonian Institution.

A catalogue of the Paul Singer Collection and an exhibit at the Sackler are being prepared. Eighteen objects from the collection already are on view at the Sackler.

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