SARATOGA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Tang Teaching Museum, along with two other area art institutions, has received a stunning collection of Tibetan thangka paintings from collector and curator Jack Shear. These 60 beautiful paintings are executed in the fragile medium of distemper paint on silk or cotton. The works in the collection date back to the 18th century.

The Tang will share the gift with two other institutions, the Williams College Museum and The Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, where the exhibit, Mastery and Merit: Tibetan Art from the Jack Shear Collection opened on March 5. Ian Berry, the Director of the Tang Museum made the suggestion for the three institutions to share the monumental gift, “This gift of the Jack Shear Collection of Tibetan Art represents a monumental collaboration in collection and resource sharing among academic museums, and we hope it becomes a model for other institutions.”

  • Tibetan Mandala of Sarvavid Vairocana, from Jack Shear's Collection
  • Tibetan art donated by Jack Shear

The colorful and intricate thangka paintings depict scenes from the lives of Buddhist historical figures and were displayed during rituals and used as objects of meditation. Distemper paint is composed of chalk and can be very difficult to preserve. Completed thangka paintings are covered in fabric and kept rolled up to preserve their delicate surfaces.

The works were donated by photographer, curator, and collector Jack Shear whose holdings include over 750 drawings by listed artists, as well as historical objects and art. He is also the Executive Director of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, devoted to the great American painter, sculptor, and printmaker. The foundation concentrates on giving to support exhibits for contemporary artists as well as environmental conservation and community development.