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Asia Week New York, in Partnership with The Winter Show, Presents A Collecting Dynasty: The Rockefeller Family at the Park Avenue Armory, January 20th

New York: Asia Week New York, in partnership with The Winter Show, presents A Collecting Dynasty: The Rockefeller Family. The discussion, moderated by Joan B. Mirviss, will be held on Saturday, January 20 at 3:00 p.m. in the historic Board of Officers Room at the Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, New York.


As passionate art collectors and philanthropists with an incredible range of interests that spanned the globe, the Rockefeller family, in so many ways, epitomizes the pinnacle of patronage in this country. Throughout several generations, beginning with Abby and John D Rockefeller, Jr., their unwavering support for the visual arts was critical to the development of many cultural institutions focused on the family members’ individual collecting interests, such as Asia Society, the Cloisters, Colonial Williamsburg and its Folk Art Museum, Japan Society, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.


With over four decades of direct involvement with the Rockefeller family, each of the panelists– two Asian art historians and museum professionals and a prominent European art dealer–are exceptionally qualified to discuss the legacy of multiple generations, their remarkable collections, and lasting contributions to the world of art and antiques.

About the Distinguished Panel:

Cynthia Altman was Curator at Kykuit for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the National Trust, from 1992 to 2018, and prior to that for members of the Rockefeller family. Completed in 1913, Kykuit, was the home to four generations of the family. Its traditional interiors exhibit a mixture of the family’s diverse collecting tastes, which included Chinese and European ceramics and an important Tang dynasty marble bodhisattva. They stand in contrast to the galleries and extensive gardens of sculpture that provide a window to the mid-20th century. Responsible for overseeing the research, care, and conservation of the Kykuit collections, Ms. Altman has also published and lectured on Chinese ceramics, the Italian influences in the gardens, the Japanese garden, the Yoshimura Junzo teahouse, and residence, as well as the fifteen Picasso tapestries including the tapestry after Guernica. Ms. Altman is also curatorial advisor to the Rockefeller University.

Michele Beiny Harkins is a third generation antiques dealer. Her grandfather, Hanns Weinberg, founded the Antique Porcelain Company in London in 1946 and later opened galleries in New York in 1957 and Zurich in 1972. She started her own gallery in 1987 in New York specializing in 18th and early 19th century English and Continental porcelain and European faience, as well as French furniture and decorations, objets de vertu, and renaissance jewels. More recently, she has added modern and contemporary ceramics and glass to her repertoire. She has exhibited at many international antiques shows including TEFAF Maastricht in the Netherlands, The Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair and The International Ceramics Fair and Seminar in London, The Winter Show in New York, the International Fairs in Basel and Munich, and the Paris Biennale.

She is the Founder and President of the Board of the Wallace Collection in America.

Dr. Vishakha N. Desai has served at Columbia University in various capacities, including as Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to the President, Chair of the Committee on Global Thought, and Senior Research Scholar in Global Studies at its School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Prior to joining Columbia in 2013, Dr. Desai served as President and CEO of Asia Society for eight years, and Senior Vice President and Director of the Museum since 1990. In 2012, in recognition of Dr. Desai’s leadership in the museum field, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve on the National Museums and Library Services Board. Her professional career spanning the last four decades, includes positions at the Cleveland Museum, Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Along with her scholarship of pre-modern art, she is well known for organizing groundbreaking exhibitions of Asian and Asian-American art in the U.S. Her most recent publication, World as Family: A Journey of Multi-Rooted Belongings (Columbia University Press, 2021) received the Nautilus Book Award for Memoir in 2022.

Joan B. Mirviss is a renowned expert in Japanese art, specializing in prints, paintings, screens, and most especially contemporary ceramics for more than forty years. She is the leading Western dealer in the field of modern and contemporary Japanese ceramics, and her New York gallery exclusively represents the top Japanese clay artists. She is the co-founder of Asia Week New York and served as its first Chairperson. In addition to authoring numerous publications, since April of 2020, she has moderated thirty panels on a wide variety of Asian art topics that may be found on her gallery’s website. Since 1981, she has been an annual exhibitor at The Winter Show.

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About Asia Week New York

Asia Week New York is a nine-day celebration, bringing together top-tier international Asian art galleries, the six major auction houses, and numerous museums and Asian cultural institutions. It features simultaneous gallery open houses, Asian art auctions, museum exhibitions, lectures, and special events. Participants from Great Britain, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States unveil an extraordinary array of museum-quality treasures from China, India, the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, Tibet, Nepal, Japan, and Korea. Asia Week New York Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade membership organization registered with the state of New York. For more information, visit @asiaweekny #asiaweekny

About Songtsam, Presenting Sponsor

Songtsam (“Paradise”) is an award-winning luxury collection of sixteen hotels, resorts, and tours located in Tibet and Yunnan Provinces, China. Founded in 2000 by Mr. Baima Duoji, a former Tibetan documentary filmmaker, Songtsam is the only collection of luxury Tibetan-style retreats within the wellness space focusing on the concept of Tibetan meditation by combining physical and spiritual healing together. The unique and sustainable properties offer guests authenticity, within the context of refined design, modern amenities, and unobtrusive service in places of untouched natural beauty and cultural interest. One of the Songtsam Properties is a Virtuoso Preferred Partner and four of the Songtsam Properties are Serandipians Hotel Partners. Songstam welcomes all travelers including families with children, travelers with disabilities and is LGBTQ+ friendly.

About The Winter Show

The Winter Show, an annual benefit for the East Side House Settlement, is the leading art, antiques, and design fair in America, featuring over 70 of the world’s leading experts in the fine and decorative arts. Held at the historic Park Avenue Armory in New York City, in January, the fair highlights a dynamic mix of works dating from ancient times through the present day and maintains the highest standards of quality in the art market. Each object at the fair is vetted for authenticity, date, and condition by a committee of 120 experts from the United States and Europe.

All the revenues from the fair’s general admission and the net proceeds from the Opening Night and other special events support East Side House and contribute substantially to its private philanthropic budget. No part of sales made by exhibitors is received by East Side House.

About East Side House

East Side House Settlement is a community-based organization located in the South Bronx. Recognizing education as the key to economic and civic opportunity, East Side House works with schools, community centers, and other partners to bring quality education and resources to individuals in need, helping approximately 14,000 residents of the Bronx and Northern Manhattan improve their lives each year. For more information, please visit:

Captions (top to bottom)
China, Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911
Kangxi era, 1662-1722
Pair of lions on high pedestals
Porcelain with famille verte enamels

China, Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911
Kangxi era, 1662-1722
Vase, Flowers of the Four Seasons
Porcelain with famille verte enamels

Kykuit, 1913
Pocantico Hills, NY
A National Trust site