“The Khalili collection of Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage (700-2000) ranks in importance alongside the
collections of the Topkapi Saray Museum in Istanbul, and includes major objects, many of which are
unique and irreplaceable and have no parallel in any other collection, private or public.”
Chairman, Sotheby’s Middle East and India
“Professor Khalili’s contribution to the world of art and culture is unparalleled, and for him to be called the
Medici of the 21st century is no exaggeration.”
“What makes Khalili’s story an especially remarkable one is the simple fact that as a Jew he is probably
doing more than anyone to promote Islamic art and culture worldwide.”
Editor, FIRST Magazine
“David Khalili’s collection covers the full breadth of Islamic material culture, not just the parts that have interested Western collectors in the past. You can see this especially in his collection of calligraphy and related materials – he is someone looking at Islamic culture from the inside. David has also invested in his collection by inviting specialists in a wide range of different fields to publish catalogues of his holdings. Many of these catalogues are the first publications in the field and have become vital tools for further research. He has also helped to raise the profile of Islamic art and design through a rich series of exhibitions across the world, collaborating with venues as august as the British Museum and as remote as Provo, Utah.”
Senior Curator, Middle Eastern collections
Victoria and Albert Museum
“From Jerusalem, the city of Light and Hope, I send you the expression of my admiration. I pay homage to the Board of Directors of the Aladdin Project for choosing you as the 2014 laureate of the Dialogue of Cultures Award; it is a truly merited act of gratitude for all that you have done in the domain of intercultural and interfaith dialogue, as well as your significant contribution to the effulgence of Islamic arts.”
Chief Rabbi emeritus of France, Vice-President of the Conference of European Rabbis
12 June 2014
“Tonight we are celebrating the outstanding achievements of a deeply humanist man of culture and science, without whom the major exhibition on Hajj at the Arab World Institute could never have taken place. Professor Khalili has shown a unique determination to forge dialogue between cultures and religions and to improve the mutual knowledge of people of different cultures.”
President of the Arab World Institute and former French Minster of Culture, during the ceremony of the Dialogue of Cultures Award at the French Parliament,
12 june 2014
“Professor Khalili, of Jewish Iranian heritage, is today one of the world’s greatest ambassadors of culture and Islamic arts. We are honoured that he is with us tonight at the National Assembly.”
President of the French National Assembly, during the ceremony of the Dialogue of Cultures Award,
12 June 2014
“I am particularly pleased that the 2014 Award for the Dialogue of Cultures goes to Professor Nasser David Khalili. In the person of Professor Khalili, we are honouring a truly remarkable leader in reaching out boldly across cultural and religious divides and proving that, as he has said himself, what we have in common is far greater than what divides us. He is the perfect laureate for the Aladdin Award for the Dialogue of Cultures.”
Former Chancellor of Germany
“We Thank Khalili for his contribution to this exhibition”
Dr. Faisal Bin Muammar
Director General of The King Abdulaziz Public Library Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the Prime Minister of France Manuel Valls visit at the Hajj, le pèlerinage à La Mecque at the Institut du monde arabe, Paris.
26 June 2014
“I was so pleased to learn that Professor Khalili was to receive the “Maimonides-Averroes Award”. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.
David is passionate about the cause of peace and has made a remarkable contribution to improving dialogue, understanding and respect between those of different faiths. I have discussed these issues with David many times over the years and it is his dedication to the cause and his rational and compassionate thinking that has always been apparent.
He has given much; and it is clear he still has so much to give. I can’t think of anyone who better represents the values encompassed by the Maimonides-Averroes Award for mutual knowledge and respect than David”.
The Right Hon Tony Blair
Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
“There are frequent flashes of generosity of spirit that cannot be scripted …”
“Like most great philanthropists, he is passionate but there is a certain timeless wisdom about him too.”
B Beyond Magazine January 2013
"Though religious conflict and intolerance often claim center stage, throughout the world there are people working tirelessly for interfaith peace and understanding. Nasser David Khalili is a leader among them"
"In recognition of his services to humanity through art, culture and philanthropy, and in acknowledgement of his exceptional journey as one of our most distinguished alumni, we are proud today to present Nasser David Khalili with the Queens College President’s Medal"
President James Muyskens
Queens College New York
30 May 2013 New York
".... what Prof. Khalili (David) represents... he is more than a collector, art historian, business man, of diverse cultural background...he’s just a HUMANIST and this is what is so wonderful about him"
"... In 17th Century France, there is a very interesting description of people (such as David) - an HONEST MAN , meaning a man of passionate intellect and great culture, a man of balance and reason.... (showing) an intellectual and moral spirituality towards humanity
"Dear Professor Khalili, you have always been an ambassador for the values that inspire UNESCO’s action"
Director General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the designation of Prof. Nasser D. Khalili , Phd, KCSS, KCFO as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Paris
16 October 2012 Paris
"Items from the archive - as well as the spectacular embroidered textiles themselves - were recently on show at the British Museum’s exhibition Hajj: Journey to the Hearth of Islam. Indeed the Khalili Family Trust was the largest lender to this landmark show... After Topkapi Serayi in Istanbul, the trust also holds the worlds largest group of textiles and objects - among them scientific instruments, maps and miniatures - relating to Mecca and Medina."
12 May 2012
"On behalf of all of us at the museum and thousands of people who will see this exhibition, I would like to thank you, David, and your family for your amazing generosity, especially for this exhibition, which will allow, I hope, a new set of people to understand what Hajj is".
"It would have been impossible to tell that story without those great Works of Art from David’s collection"
Director British Museum On the occasion of The Hajj Exhibition at the British Museum
"From The Khalili Collections - perhaps the greatest and grandest assemblage of Islamic art in private hands - comes a wonderfully vivid manuscript illustrating the rites of Hajj in richly... detailed sequence. And, at the heart of the show, is a marvellous display of the magnificent textiles traditionally offered to the Kaaba..."
The Times, on the occasion of Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam, an exhibition at the British Museum from 26 January to 15 April 2012
24 January 2012
"He’s an unparalleled Art Collector".
Director of De Nieuwe Kerk and Hermitage Amsterdam
"His Islamic treasures include a 14th-centuary Iranian world history by Rashid al-Din Fadlallah; Its one of the greatest illustrated manuscripts in the world"
Senior curator for the Middle East at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. Bloomberg Magazine
" 'His collection is certainly the best in private hands' says Edward Gibbs, Sotheby's head of middle Eastern art. 'He is the man who has everything, He's come to define the market'."
“My Dear David, what can I say, here stands a Galileo. I have known you for many years when the late holy father pope John Paul II of blessed memory created you a Knight of St. Sylvester, I said of you at that time if you remember that you had in one person the great wisdom of 3 religious leaders: a Chief Rabbi a Cardinal and Grand Mufti. This was true then and it’s true today”.
Words of the holy father Pope Benedict XVI
(read by his representative) on the occasion of presenting the honour of Knight Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St Sylvester (KCSS)
"The Public will be astounded by the diversity of the Khalili material"
International Herald Tribune
Geoffrey Munn, managing director of wartski, an art and antique dealer in London
10 December 2009
"It's an absolutely superb collection of Enamels. It's fantastically interesting. It brings together different cultures, and it works together in very important ways. It's a dialogue of cultures, and it has unique pieces... He has chosen a field not so much visited by other collectors. The art market comes in waves, and he knows how to gauge the weather."
"All great collectors are very unusual, but Prof. Khalili is very special. His attitude is: 'I am not the owner. I am the keeper of the collection for the next generation and the next century.' It's a very important philosophy."
"It is one of the most important Islamic collection in the world - not just one of the most important in private hands, but in museums, too. It includes all aspects of Islamic art. It's very spectacular."
“The Khalili Collection `Enamels Of The World 1700 – 2000’, which includes
spectacular masterpieces from all the major centres of enameling, is pioneering
in its focused study of the subject.
Unique in its scope, the Collection reveals the remarkable technical
achievements of the enamellers and encourages a greater awareness of the
range of their activity. For these reasons I was convinced that the first public
showing of the Collection should take place in the galleries of the State
Hermitage Museums in St Petersburg”.
Professor Mikhail Piotrovsky
Director The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
"Rencontre avec le plus grand collectionneur du monde, Nasser David Khalili, collectionneur de légende"
"Meeting with the Greatest Collector in the world - Nasser D Khalili, legendary collector"
LE JOURNAL DU DIMANCHE
4 October 2009
"David Khalili puts most collectors to shame. In an age in which so many rich men call themselves collectors and seem more interested in displaying their wealth than the art they have acquired through it, Khalili has done rather more then simply raise a paddle in the saleroom".
"Abu Dhabi is hosting the most comprehensive exhibition of Islamic art ever staged in the Middle East"
"The collectors of the art of the past have shown a shift towards making the contents of their collections a matter of public record... the leviathan is Nasser D Khalili's astonishing 32 volumes and rising".
‘Great Collectors of our Time’ by James Stourton
Chairman, Sotheby's UK
"An attempt to value the Nasser D. Khalili collection of Islamic Art would be an impossible task. Even with an infinite budget one would not be able to rebuild such a collection; hence it is literally priceless."
Director, Islamic & Indian art, Bonhams
"The State Hermitage Museum has worked with Nasser D. Khalili on three occasions and in each case approximately half the pieces were drawn from the Khalili Collection."
State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
"Many items in the Nasser D. Khalili collection are completely unique - without parallel in museums let alone the market. It is a collection that would be impossible to recreate."
International Specialist Head Department Islamic Art, Christies London
"Nasser D. Khalili is a born collector and a great ambassador for Islamic art. His collection is unrivalled."
Chairman, Middle East and India, Sotheby's, London
"Nasser D. Khalili lives, thinks and breathes art. For him life and art are noble and inseparable. Nobody believes more in the healing power of art and the lessons we can learn from it."
Chairman, Sotheby's UK
"Professor Khalili is an established world figure in the domain of Islamic art. His academic contributions to understanding Islamic culture are significant and his collection is among the best in the world. It was natural for us to seek him out and establish a personal relationship and friendship between us. Last year, we sent out a team to Sydney, Australia, to see his exhibition at The Art Gallery of New South Wales and we decided that, in view of our wider vision to anchor our Cultural District in its Islamic tradition, it would be important to cooperate with him on a long-term basis."
HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al-Nahyan Chairman Abu Dhabi Tourism
The Arts of Islam Exhibition – Canvas Magazine
"The Arts of Islam exhibition is a copious and precious record of Islamic masterpieces and artistic achievements. It is a fertile and inexhaustible treasure house that recounts the history of a community that had a mighty role in building human civilization and enriching it with knowledge, art and culture.
I highly value the efforts of Professor Nasser al-Khalili and what he has done to promote this valuable cultural heritage, to care for it and to preserve it, and to present it to current and future generations so that all who see it will learn about the brilliance of the noble and deeply-rooted Islamic civilization".
Translation of the comment made by HH General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on the occasion of the opening of the Arts of Islam Exhibition in Abu Dhabi
January 2008 Abu Dhabi
"This collection is without a doubt the largest and most comprehensive collection of Islamic Art in the world and we consider ourselves very lucky to be able to host it in our Museum."
Edmund Capon, AM,OBE
Director NSW Gallery, Sydney, Australia
Summer 2007 Australia
"Few men have made such an impressive contribution to the preservation and understanding of Islamic art as Nasser David Khalili, one of the world's foremost collectors. Driven by passion to share the riches of the past with the modern world for more than three decades, his quest to assemble an unparalleled collection has played a central role in his life"
Philippa Scott and Lisa Ball-Lechgar
"The main reason for the exhibition of Wonders of Imperial Japan at the Van Gogh Museum was its connection to Van Gogh's painting. It was Van Gogh who said in his letter to his brother Theo on 1888 'In a way all my work is founded on Japanese art...' "
Director, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
"David Khalili is The 'Born Collector' "
Art news, The Global Art Boom
"David Khalili is The Ambassador of Culture"
EMEL – The Muslim Lifestyle Magazine
"...we are treated to an admirably concise but wide ranging and, in many respects, ground-breaking overview of Ottoman culture"
"Professor Khalili has spent the last 35 years promoting the art and culture of Islam so perhaps it is more appropriate for us to call him 'a cultural ambassador of Islam' ".
His Excellency Dr. Adeli
The Iranian ambassador to London, at the Launch of The TimeLine History of Islamic Art and Architecture
November 2005 The Banqueting House, London
"...Khalili is a most unusual collector - and also an extraordinary man"
"Healing the world with art"
'The Independent: Arts and Books Review'
16 April 2004
"Everyone should look at the art of Islam. It confounds every stereotype... This is art... staggering art."
13 April 2004
"Dr. Khalili is a man of obvious rare taste, and his collection of Islamic art is a very important collection, and very wisely collected,"
in the article – 'Authority and collector Khalili to explore glories of Islamic art' by David J. Craig in Boston University Bridge, Vol. VI, No. 20
"...the appreciation of all the Zuloaga descendants [goes] to Prof Khalili... for this superb collection of damascene art, and... for having given the world the opportunity to admire the works, not only of the Zuloagas, but of all the Basque artisans like them."
Mariá Rosa Suárez Zuloaga
Zuloaga Museum Spain
"The aim of Professor Khalili and the Nour Foundation to put together a
scholarly survey of Islamic art in all its facets has certainly been achieved in
this catalogue......Taking these two well-produced volumes from their slip-case
is like opening a two-dimensional virtual museum with all the scientific
wonders of the Islamic World spread before us."
Bulletin of The Scientific Instrument Society, No. 61
"The Medici, Lady Charlotte Schreiber, J. Paul Getty - all names inscribed on the roll of honour of those who had an overwhelming urge to collect... Such collectors are spread as thinly today as ever, but one such as Dr Nasser D Khalili who, unusually, is more than willing to share his passion with a wider public."
"Today I am speechless and proud to be Japanese"
His Excellency Kunihiko Saito
Japanese Ambassador to Washington (on the occasion of the Official Opening of the Delaware Exhibition)
10 April 1999
"...A landmark in the study of nineteenth century Spanish decorative art."
Dr Alan Borg
Director, Victoria & Albert Museum, on the occasion of the opening of the Zuloaga exhibition
"This series is a monumental celebration of the material culture of the Islamic peoples, the so called 'people of the Book'. For their production values, for their very substantial scholarship, and of course for the collection itself, these volumes can only be seen as a landmark series...."
The Art Book
"One of the most lavish publications ever produced on Japanese art... the tomes feature... stunningly exquisite artistic treasures ..."
Wings Of Gold, In-flight Magazine of Malaysian Airlines
"At that time we could not have guessed the existence of Professor Khalili's collection... a feat which could not possibly be duplicated or even approached by any museum in the world today..."
Dr Robert Anderson
Director, British Museum, Talking on the exhibition Japanese Imperial Craftsman, 21 September 1994 – 15 January 1995
"Professor Nasser D. Khalili..........one of the world's leading collectors of
Japanese art from the Meiji period."
Museums by John Russell Taylor
12 November 1994
"His collection is superlative and to have it on permanent display in this country would be phenomenal." "...others such as David Khalili are engaged in a life-long quest to build bridges between world communities through philanthropy... This is philanthropy on a grand scale... He regards himself as the custodian rather than owner of the ancient artefacts..."
Peter Stock of the British Library in an article by Ian Birrell and Robina Gibb
13 September 1992
"In its breadth and vision Dr Khalili’s magnificent survey of the arts of the Islamic lands must be regarded as one of the outstanding publishing achievements of the century".
Dr Julian Raby
Director, Smithsonian Institution Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Washington DC, in a Presentation Ceremony at the Locarno Suite, British Foreign Office