- Also known as
primary name: Kempe, Carl
- individual; collector; Swedish; Male
- Life dates
- 8 December 1884-7 July 1967
- Collector of Chinese antiquities. Born in Stockholm, and spent most of his life at Ekolsund, a former royal palace some forty miles north of Stockholm, which he bought in a dilapidated condition in 1912, and subsequently restored. The ground floor was converted into a library. He belonged to a group of Chinese art connoisseurs who began collecting in about 1930; he was also a member of the Chinese Club in Stockholm (a local branch of the Oriental Ceramic Society in London). He was an early member of the Oriental Ceramic Society and lent pieces to the Royal Academy Exhibition, 1935-1936. He apparently visited China for the first time in 1935, and began specialising in monochrome whiteware porcelain after that date. His collection fell into three principal areas, Chinese gold and silver from the Zhou to the Q'ing periods, Chinese whitewares, and Chinese glass, but he also collected Chinese lacquer, snuff-boxes, bronzes and other metalwork, enamels, hardstones and Roman glassware (the latter being sold through auction in London by Bonhams on 29 April 2004). After his death his collection continued to be housed at Ekolsund, and in 1971 the Kempe Foundation organised a touring exhibition to the United States of 150 items of gold, silver and ceramics. The house was later sold and the collection dispersed. The ceramics, gold and silver went to the Museum of Art and Far Eastern Antiquities in Ulricehamn; the Chinese glass had already been presented by Kempe to the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm; the BM's Carl Kempe Collection was donated by Giuseppe Eskanazi to commemorate his 50th anniversary in England. He was a great benefactor of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm and started the Association of Friends of the Museum in 1959.
- Davids and Jellinek, "PROVENANCE: Collectors, Dealers and Scholars: Chinese Ceramics in Britain and America", 2011, p.268, Plate 92, p. 269; Member of the Oriental Ceramic Society in 1942. "Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society", vol. 37, 1967-1969, pp. xiii & xiv, obituary, Bo Gyllensvärd.
Bonhams, 'Antiquities', 29 April 2004, photograph & page-long biography on pp. 58-59; Bonhams, 'Islamic and Indian Art', 29 April 2004, photograph & separate page-long biography on p. 103.