Award Recognizes the Outstanding Contributions of Modern Day Patrons in 11 Countries


While many international awards celebrate the accomplishments of artists and performers, the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award is unique in that it shines a light on the individuals who, away from the spotlight, facilitate the advancement of the arts through the unwavering support they provide. Established in 1992 by the Montblanc Cultural Foundation, the annual award recognizes the outstanding achievements of modern day patrons who work tirelessly and selflessly to allow the arts and culture to thrive.

In 2015, the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award is being presented to patrons in China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the USA, and for the first time ever in Switzerland. Eleven patrons will join a prestigious list of past winners that includes HRH The Prince of Wales, British maestro Sir Simon Rattle, Italian architect Renzo Piano and Japanese artist Yoko Ono. Each winner is chosen from a shortlist by an international jury of art influencers – a passionate network of the world’s most creative individuals is brought together by the Montblanc Cultural Foundation to evaluate the candidates based on their history of personal commitment to the arts, and a concern that the wider public should benefit from cultural projects.

“With a heritage deeply anchored in the culture of writing, one of the fundamental components of human civilization, Montblanc has always greatly valued and supported of arts and culture”, explains Lutz Bethge, Montblanc Cultural Foundation Chairman. “It is our shared responsibility to preserve and advance the culture of mankind but without the continued commitment of modern-day patrons of art, this advancement would not be possible.

It is therefore with great pleasure that we recognise and celebrate their invaluable contribution with this unique award.”

The winner in each country is presented with one of a limited edition of 11 Patrons of Art writing instruments specially handcrafted every year in Montblanc’s Artisan Ateliers, and awarded 15,000 Euros to benefit their arts organization or the project of their choice. To highlight the idea of supporting the arts, each year the Limited Edition writing instrument is dedicated to a historic patron of the arts. This year, the Montblanc Patron of Art Luciano Pavarotti Limited Edition is a writing tribute to the great opera icon who not only made opera fascinating for broader audiences, but also proved himself as a committed humanitarian, and patron of the arts. Away from the limelight of world stages, Pavarotti dedicated much of his time to nurturing young up-and-coming singers with free private singing lessons.

The winners receive the prize at special handover events worldwide attended by both former winners and members of the international jury, reflecting the spirit of dedication and enthusiasm generated by the award. Over the years more than 3.345 million Euros have been awarded and more than 220 projects supported as a result of the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award.

The Winners of the 2015 Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Awards are:

– Richard Reed (United Kingdom) is being honoured for founding and supporting the ‘Art Everywhere’ project, which is the world’s largest art show. ‘Art Everywhere’ transformed Britain’s streets into the world’s biggest open air gallery, with 30,000 sites, including public transport, displaying 25 works of art selected by the public via the project’s website. The project was subsequently successfully rolled out nationwide in the U.S.A. and has had interest from a number of other countries around the world who would like to mirror the initiative locally.

– Zhang Fan (China) is being honoured for his unparalleled influence on modern music, jazz and pop in China. Until recently, the patrons of art who support the traditional ‘high’ art forms such as music, painting, dance or literature, were recognized. However, in a world where the old artistic divisions are breaking down, and in a country as dynamic as China, such an approach is no longer viable with Zhang Fan being celebrated for his influential contribution.

– Laurent Dumas (France) is a prominent collector of modern and contemporary art with a collection consisting of over 500 works. But where he goes beyond the run-of-the-mill collector is in his passionate concern to foster the visual arts scene in France and to ensure that they continue to flourish under his generous patronage.

– Dorit and Alexander Otto (Germany) have an extensive history of philanthropy in their native city of Hamburg, inspired in part by the traditions of Mr Otto’s family but to a greater degree by the couple’s own passionate belief that everyone has a collective duty to contribute to the wellbeing and happiness of fellow citizens. The couple’s generous financial contribution to the Hamburger Kunsthalle has made possible the modernization of the renowned museum, turning into an international art destination attracting a new generation of visitors.

– Umberta Gnutti Beretta (Italy) is a renowned collector and a passionate supporter of the arts. She has been chosen for her role as a dedicated patron of the visual arts, in particular for her involvement in the preservation and conservation of Italy’s historic artistic patrimony. She funded the restoration of Giovanni Bellini’s Imago Pietatis at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, and became the president of the museum’s Restoration Club, encouraging others to contribute financially to the safeguard of priceless works of art for future generations.

– Tetsuya Kumakawa (Japan) was and remains one of Japan’s leading classical dancers and receives the award in recognition of his almost 20 year commitment to improving the classical ballet traditions in Japan, in particular his founding of a professional company and the provision of professional training for aspiring dancers.

– Kim Dong Ho (Korea) receives the Award for his long-term support of the Korean film industry, in particular his founding of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in 1996. Through his guidance and inspiration, the BIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in Asia and an institution with the greatest interest in supporting young filmmakers and introducing young audiences to the best in contemporary and historical cinema.

– Alondra de la Parra (Mexico) has been recognized for her contribution to the advancement of music. She founded the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas (POA) in 2004, when she was just 23. Her mission was to create an orchestra that would serve as a platform to showcase young performers and composers from the Americas, giving music from the Americas an unquestioned place in the standard orchestral repertoire.

– Sergi Ferrer Salat (Spain) receives the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award for his work with the Ferrer Salat Foundation, originally set up by his father in 1982. As the Chairman of the foundation since 1998 and during his 16 years of his stewardship, he has transformed it into a major force for good in the musical culture of Spain. Through the “Young Talents” and “Academic Excellence” music scholarships in partnership with the Higher Conservatory of the Liceu, the Foundation promotes musical excellence in young musicians in the fields of classical, contemporary music, jazz and modern music by providing them with ideal conditions and resources for their studies, including access to lectures by internationally renowned artists throughout the whole year.

– Maja Hoffmann (Switzerland) is the first Swiss honouree to receive a Montblanc Award for her extensive patronage activities. The contemporary art world maverick prefers to work behind the scenes, supporting art, film, and environmental programs around the world. She actively supports artists through her Luma Foundation and sits on the board of many cultural institutions helping them realize cutting-edge projects by connecting them with the most talented artists and architects. The foundation promotes artistic projects combining a particular interest in environmental issues, human rights, education, and culture. The many collaborations the Foundation engages in includes the New Museum of Contemporary Art (New York), CCS Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, New York), Serpentine Gallery and Tate Modern (London) and the Kunsthalle Zürichand the Fotomuseum Winterthur (Switzerland).

– Peter Brant (USA), a noted American collector and owner and chairman of Brant Publications, Inc. which publishes magazines such as Art in America and Interview, receives the 2015 USA Montblanc de la Culture Award in recognition of his long-term commitment to the visual arts and his belief that the arts can be a force for good in society at large. He founded The Brant Foundation Art Study in Greenwich, CT in 2009. The gallery and learning center showcases long-term exhibitions and promotes the appreciation of contemporary art and design.. The non-profit center is open to the public by appointment.

About Montblanc

For over 100 years, Montblanc has embraced the traditions of lasting value and exquisite craftsmanship. The Maison’s uncompromising principles of design, style, quality and workmanship have allowed it to create heirloom collections that are passed from generation to generation. The iconic Montblanc emblem is a symbol of excellence – the pinnacle of luxury writing instruments, timepieces, leather, accessories, fragrances and sunglasses – and the Maison has made an enduring commitment to encourage excellence through cultural advancement. Montblanc has its roots in writing culture and therefore sees a particular obligation to its own cultural commitment. Through various international activities, the Maison makes a creative contribution to modern cultural life: Montblanc itself writes a small piece of cultural history.

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