The formation of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection was begun in earnest after the establishment of Asia Society in 1956. With the help of the noted scholar of Asian art Sherman Lee, John D. Rockefeller 3rd and Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller chose classical masterpieces of Asian art rather that building a historical survey. Although the collection comprises fewer than 300 objects, it is nevertheless viewed as one of the most notable collections of Asian art in the United States.
The collection was a promised gift to the Society and served as a primary impetus for the building of the Society’s headquarters on Park Avenue. First exhibited in two parts in 1970 and 1975 and given to the Society upon the death of Mr. Rockefeller in 1978, the collection was shown it its entirety in 1981 when the new building opened. The collection now includes not only the works given in 1978 but also acquisitions made since then and a number of objects bequeathed from the estate of Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller.
The collection includes objects from cultures stretching from Pakistan to Japan to Java that date from the 11th century BCE to the 19th century CE. It has particular strengths in Chinese ceramics of the Song and Ming periods, Chola-period Indian bronzes, and Southeast Asian sculptures.
Please note that the Rockefeller Collection is on occasional view. To learn more about the Rockefeller Collection, visit The Collection in Context or visit the Current Exhibitions page for information about works now on display.