Property mogul melded love for art with activism

Mr George Wong established a reputation as one of China’s leading art collectors over the years.
Mr George Wong established a reputation as one of China’s leading art collectors over the years. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Real-estate mogul and art collector George Wong, chairman of The Hong Kong Parkview Group, died in his sleep last Saturday. He was 65. He is survived by his wife Susie, daughters Nancy Wong and Alice de la Fuente Saez Wong, son Alexander Wong and seven grandchildren.

The art enthusiast was known for a wide-ranging collection including Salvador Dali sculptures. Some of these are displayed in Parkview Square, the North Bridge Road building where he established a free private museum earlier this year.

Statements from the group announced his death as well as the cancellation of a New Year's Eve party at Atlas Bar, which occupies the ground floor of the recently renovated Parkview Square.

Parkview Museum Singapore is on the third floor of the same building and currently hosts The Artist's Voice, an exhibition of major artwork from starred names such as Marina Abramovic and Dennis Oppenheim.

Mr Wong was the eldest of four sons of the late developer CS Hwang of Hong Kong-based Chyau Fwu property group. He was born in Hong Kong in 1952, grew up in Taiwan and completed his studies in Britain. He inherited the chairmanship of his father's company in 2003.

Over the years, he established a reputation as one of China's leading art collectors. He was a National Museum of China research fellow, the National Art Museum of China's chief international consultant and a China Literature & Art Foundation director.

He donated artwork to institutions such as the China National Museum, China National Art Museum, Nanjing Arts Institute, Xiamen Jimei University and other public educational institutions.

In a recent interview with The Straits Times, he revealed that most of the work on display at Parkview Museum Singapore came from his own collection.

An environmental activist, Mr Wong founded Parkview Arts Action, an outreach arm of his company which helps to raise awareness of environmental issues through art.

In 2014, Parkview Arts Action organised an art and documentary exhibition against the consumption of shark's fin. On Sharks & Humanity was created with non-governmental wildlife organisation WildAid and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. It was the inaugural exhibition of Parkview Museum Singapore and ran until September this year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2017, with the headline 'Property mogul melded love for art with activism'. Print Edition | Subscribe