"Why did Medici commission so much art? Why did the Vatican commission Michelangelo? Was it philanthropy or was it an exercise of power and display and spectacle? I think all those things are involved in Asia too," said Dodd, organizer of the fair's first private museum forum last year to address growing interest in the topic.
Some 40 private museum owners and collectors from Australia, Japan, Indonesia and China are expected to attend this year's private museum forum at the fair, which will be held May 17-20.
Tek acknowledged that vanity and ego played a role when he started building his art collection, but now he has reverted to what he terms a modest lifestyle. He says his only extravagance is flying first class and he doesn't wear fancy watches or clothes and avoids giving too many media interviews.
"The action of opening the museum is an extension of love to society," said Tek, who is president of Sierad Produce, a $155 million company listed on the Jakarta stock exchange.
"When you see MoMA, with flocks of people everyday, I'm a little bit jealous," said Tek, referring to New York's Museum of Modern Art.
Tek and other wealthy collectors have turned Hong Kong into the world's third biggest auction hub as they build up their collections. In the autumn of 2010, Tek paid $6.7 million at a Hong Kong auction for a painting of a yellow baby by Chinese surrealist painter Zhang Xiaogang entitled "Chapter of a New Century Birth of the People's Republic of China II."
In early April, he slipped into Hong Kong again. After an interview with The Associated Press he attended a Sotheby's auction of contemporary Asian art, but stayed in the VIP room to avoid being seen by other bidders.
That sale's highlight was another work by Zhang, a family portrait called "Bloodline-Big Family No. 2." Amid furious bidding, it went to a phone bidder for 46 million Hong Kong dollars ($6 million), three times the opening price.
Sotheby's said the painting and another by Fang Lijun that sold for HK$25 million ($3.2 million) are destined for a private collector's museum in Shanghai. A spokeswoman for Tek wouldn't confirm or deny whether he was the buyer.
Researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai contributed to this report.
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