Julee WJ Chung reports at ArtAsiaPacific that the collector and entrepreneur David Tang passed away at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London on August 29. The first painting Tang bought was a traditional Chinese ink work, by Zhang Daqian, in the mid-1980s, but he also supported avant-garde artists such as Zhang Xiaogang, Yu Youhan, and Wang Guangyi before they became known globally.
Tang was born in Hong Kong and educated in England, where he studied philosophy at King’s College London and law at Cambridge University. He got his start with a short tenure at the solicitor firm of his grandfather, Tang Shiu Kin, who had founded the Kowloon Motor Bus Company in Hong Kong, and went on to establish the flagship location of the esteemed China Club restaurant in 1991, which took up the top three floors of the old Bank of China building in Hong Kong’s central business district. Tang later extended the club and restaurant’s presence to Beijing in 1996 and Singapore in 2001. The Art Deco–style dining spaces included paintings from Tang’s collection by the likes of Liu Wei and Zheng Fanzhi.
In 1994, Tang established Shanghai Tang, the clothing and lifestyle brand that would go on to become an international success. He also wrote for the Financial Times as a weekend columnist under the pen name Agony Uncle. In 2008, he was appointed as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his philanthropic work.