Aschwin de Lippe (1914-88)
After museum and university experience in Berlin through 1945, Aschwin de Lippe came to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, as a Senior Research Fellow in 1949 and became an Associate Curator in 1950, Research Curator in 1965, and Curator Emeritus in 1973. Unfortunately his interest in and knowledge of wen-jen painting at this relatively early date was not used in the development of the then dormant Chinese painting collection. More and more his interest turned to Indian art, especially to the sculpture of South India. In this new area he made many contributions, combining careful scholarship with an always present connoisseur's flair.
In the 1970's Aschwin and Simone moved to Paris, where they rehabilitated a most attractive old apartment in the Marais. Their more recent travels to India were revealed in a group of bronze, stone and wood sculptures attesting to knowledge, taste, and daring. The most elegant sophisticated works were rivaled by provocative creations of folk art. Through all the collection and furnishings one could still see a core of Western culture, but all were held together by knowledge and tradition. No trace of fashionable decor was to be seen, only the civilized environment of a reconciled East and West. [...] Aschwin's and Simone's conversational styles were equally creative and pleasurable, hers rather effervescent and intense, his a measured staccato with ironic overtones. Both possessed a distinct sense of humor, always an endearing trait but even more so in the academic or the scholar.
Aschwin Lippe represented a tradition of enlightened scholarship rooted since the eighteenth century in the dispassionate pursuit of knowledge and culture, embedded in an equally long gradation of taste and connoisseurship. His contribution to our knowledge of Chinese painting and Indian sculpture place us in his debt.
Sherman Lee, Archives of Asian Art, vol. XLII (1989)
Property from a European Estate