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Collecting Japanese Art
October 8, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pmFree
About the Event
The Japanese art collection at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) consists of approximately 3400 works with significant examples of painting, sculpture, lacquerware, metalwork and folk textiles. Richard E. Fuller, SAM’s founder and director for 40 years (1933–1973), was primarily responsible for shaping this collection, which is considered one of the finest outside Japan and one of the top ten in the U.S. From 1948 to 1952, Sherman Lee, one of the nation’s leading experts in Asian art, acted as SAM’s assistant and then associate director. During his tenure, many superlative Japanese paintings and sculptures entered the collection. In the decades that followed Fuller’s retirement, Seattle collectors who aspired to emulate Fuller expanded the collecting areas, resulting in SAM being the repository of a prime Nihonga collection as well as a preeminent collection of folk textile.
This presentation will introduce the iconic works in SAM’s collection, including the Crow screens, the Deer Scroll by Tawaraya Sotatsu (1576–1643) and Hon’ami Koetsu (1558–1637), and the warrior Haniwa, among others. It will also share the stories on how these treasures ended up in SAM. After a 2-year transformative renovation, the museum building reopened in February 2020 with a refreshed presentation of the collection. A virtual tour will offer an in-gallery look at the masterpieces in a new light: they are now displayed in a cross-cultural context and provoke visitors to ask new questions.
About the Speaker
Xiaojin Wu currently serves as curator of Japanese and Korean art at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and oversees the Museum’s renowned collection of Japanese art as well as its notable holding in Korean art. She has organized some memorable exhibitions at SAM, including Tabaimo: Utsutsushi Utsushi (2016), Chiho Aoshima: Rebirth of the World (2015). Together with her colleagues, she devoted most of her energy over the last couple of years to the transformation of the Seattle Asian Art Museum, which reopened in February 2020 after a 2-year renovation. In 2019, in recognition of her work in promoting Japanese art and culture, the Nakasone Peace Institute in Japan presented her with a Nakasone Yasuhiro award.
Before joining SAM in 2012, Dr. Wu was a curator of Asian art at the Princeton University Art Museum, a Getty Fellow at the Asia Society, and a Smithsonian Fellow at the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. She studied Japanese language and culture in China, Japan, and Singapore before moving to the United States to study the history of Japanese art. She received her PhD in Japanese art history from Princeton University.
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