PASADENA, CA.- Pacific Asia Museum
presents the new exhibition Focus on the Subject: The Art of the Harari Collection from April 5, 2013 to March 30, 2014 in the Frank and Toshie Mosher Gallery of Japanese Art. The exhibition includes a full object rotation in October 2013 to accommodate a greater number of objects and protect them from extended exposure to light.
The renowned Harari Collection of Japanese Edo (16031868) and Meiji (18681912) era paintings and drawings is one of the most significant groups of works on paper at Pacific Asia Museum. Amassed in London during the 1950s and 60s by Ralph Harari, the collection includes ukiyoe (pictures of the floating world); important prints, paintings and sketches by Hokusai, Hiroshige and their schools; paintings by Kano, Tosa, Nanga, and Shijo schools; and decorative paintings including fans. In the 1980s, Pacific Asia Museum acquired the majority of this collection with the support of several generous donors. Objects from the collection have previously been included in the exhibitions 40 Years of Building the Pacific Asia Museum Collection in 2011 and Reflections of Beauty: Women from Japans Floating World in 2006, among others.
Focus on the Subject: The Art of the Harari Collection features selected works from this group, and elucidates how Japanese painters and artisans shared their appreciation for certain subjects including landscapes, physical beauty and pursuits like poetry and tea ceremonies. These recurring themes found in the paintings are echoed in other media from the Pacific Asia Museum collection including ceramics, textiles, lacquerware and sculpture. By looking at a few of the finest examples of Harari Collection paintings alongside objects featuring similar subjects, visitors will have an opportunity to appreciate these themes from multiple perspectives, thereby deepening their knowledge of Japanese art and culture. In addition, the exhibition will examine the role of the collector both in private and public realms.
The Harari Collection is one of Pacific Asia Museums great treasures, said Curator Bridget Bray. While weve had objects from the collection on view over the past few years, this exhibition will allow our visitors to get a fuller sense of the range of paintings in the Harari Collection, the stories they tell, and the collecting choices Harari made.
Key objects in the exhibition include several examples of ukiyo-e. One such work is Daruma Carrying a Courtesan Across a Stream by Ogawa Ritsuo (1663-1747). Daruma is the Japanese name for Bodhidharma, the Indian monk who is believed to have taken meditational Buddhism from India to China in the 6th century C.E. In Japan, Daruma is regarded as the founder and patriarch of Zen meditational Buddhism and is often depicted as a sullen monk with large, staring eyes and wearing a red robe as seen here. In the Edo period, his image often appeared in ukiyo-e paintings and prints beside beautiful courtesans in a humorous juxtaposition of beauty and ugliness. The two figures are often depicted wearing each other's clothing, though not in the case of this painting.