What's Happening at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art

From Staten Island to Shangri-La: The Collecting Life of Jacques Marchais
On View March 18, 2007 - December 31, 2008

The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art celebrates its 60th anniversary of the Museum's official opening with the installation of a new exhibition, From Staten Island to Shangri-La: The Collecting Life of Jacques Marchais. The exhibit, curated by Dr. Sarah Johnson, features some of the finest examples of Himalayan art from the Museum's collection, Jacques Marchais' journals and publications, rare books, memorabilia, historical photos of the impressive construction of the Museum, and period displays of her elegant gallery installations.

The exhibition reveals the previously untold story of Jacques Marchais (1887-1948), an extraordinary American woman who created a Center to share with the world the ancient artistic and cultural traditions of Tibet and the Himalayan region. Because of her passionate drive to amass a fine collection of Tibetan objects in the 1920s - 1940s, New York City possesses one of the nation's earliest collections of high-quality Tibetan art housed in a remarkable setting. Jacques Marchais built her vision: a unique site that included extensive terraced gardens, a research Library and a Museum resembling a Himalayan mountain monastery.

Arranged chronologically, this exhibition details Jacques Marchais' early life as a child actress in the late Victorian period, her social life and spiritual quest in New York City in the 1920s, and her intense desire to build an enduring monument to Tibetan Buddhism during the eras of the Great Depression and World War II. This exhibition contributes to Asian art scholarship by explaining Jacques Marchais' role as an early 20th century popularizer of Himalayan culture, and places her in the context of a larger movement of interest in Buddhism. Exhibits and public programs at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional funding for this exhibition was made possible by grants from the Staten Island Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art is committed to promoting the awareness of Tibetan art and culture through exhibitions, programs, and publications.


The Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art 338 Lighthouse Avenue, Staten Island N.Y. 10306 Tel. 718-987-3500