Gianguan Auctions Founder M. Y. Kwong Lum Awarded 2018 Ellis Island Medal of Honor

  • M.Y.  Kwong Lum with Mrs.  Lum shortly after he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

    M.Y. Kwong Lum with Mrs. Lum shortly after he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Kwong Lum, internationally known scholar, artist, poet, and Chairman of Gianguan Auctions in New York City, has been awarded an Ellis Island Medal of Honor.  The award is bestowed on American citizens who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic groups while exemplifying the values of the American way of life. 

In responding to the honor, Mr. Lum said, “I am grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded in China, Canada and the U.S. to support the arts and share my knowledge of Chinese heritage as it was and as it is in contemporary art.”  He credited his teachers, the artists and ceramicists he has had the honor of knowing, his wife and family, and said, “The open mindedness I have experienced when people come together to share the joy of art proves to me that community extends beyond neighborhoods and ethnicity.” 

Over the years, Mr. Lum’s commitment to furthering an understanding of Chinese art and culture has earned him the respect of museum authorities, art experts and appraisers in China and the U.S.  He has been a frequent lecturer at China Institute in New York City as well as a guest on CCTV, the Chinese media organization’s television channel. At the invitation of the UN, he taught advertising and design in China.  In 2002, he founded Gianguan Auctions in New York City. In 2014, a museum bearing his name and housing his collections as well as his own art opened in Xinhui, Jiangmen, Guangdong. In 2018, Mr. Lum, whose name is spelled Lam in China, is launching the Kwong Lam Museum of Art online. 

This remarkable career began when Mr. Lum, as a young artist, was taken in by Master Y. Y. Ting. The maestro taught him Chinese painting as well as antique appraisal and helped him set up a world class collection. His Sai Yang Tang Collection of Chinese art and ceramics has been called the “Little Forbidden City of New York.” Its holdings, as well as those gifted to the museum in Jiangmen, can be viewed online, along with research and historical facts, at

As President of the Overseas Chinese Cultural Renaissance Association and International Society of Chinese Art Collectors, Kwong Lum continues to devote his life to promoting Chinese culture and the arts in America. He supports museums, galleries and individual artists engaged in same mission. He tirelessly fosters young and emerging artists such as Zhang Wenzhi and facilitates the presentation of their works in public galleries, including China Institute, The Brooklyn Museum and Queens Community College. Many of the artists are represented in his extensive private collection, which can be viewed at: 

Mr. Lum joins the ranks of Larry Gagosian and Rita Moreno, who are also 2018 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipients. Past honorees include U.S. Presidents, several world leaders, two Nobel Prize winners and countless leaders of industry, education, the arts, sports and government, along with everyday Americans who have made freedom, liberty and compassion a part of their life's work. The Medal has been officially recognized by both Houses of Congress as one of our nation’s most prestigious awards and is annually memorialized in the Congressional Record.


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