Coburns’ estate benefits LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has received a bequest of 11 Asian objects from the James and Paula Coburn Foundation, the estate of tough-guy actor James Coburn, who died in 2002, and his wife, actress Paula Coburn, who died in 2004.

The gift includes four Nepalese opaque watercolor portraits, a Buddhist sculpture and six Tibetan religious paintings called thangkas. The latter paintings, five of which portray arhats (enlightened Buddhist teachers) and one depicting the lokapalas (World Guardians), fill a gap in the museum’s extensive collection of Tibetan art, curator Stephen Markel said Monday.

“We have a few arhats, but nothing with this degree of Chinese stylistic influence,” said Markel, LACMA’s department head for South and Southeast Asian art.

Markel said James Coburn began donating Asian art pieces to LACMA in the 1970s. The actor, he said, had developed an interest in Asia after traveling to India to study the martial arts.


-- Diane Haithman