The Smart Museum of Art announced today that it has received an exceptional collection of Japanese prints through a bequest of Brooks McCormick, Jr.
“This is a transformative gift to our Japanese print collection” said Richard A. Born, the Museum’s retired Senior Curator and current Interim Curator of Asian Art. “It provides an exciting foundation for future exhibition projects and, more immediately, offers University of Chicago faculty a fantastic resource for object-based teaching.”
The Brooks McCormick, Jr. Collection of Japanese Prints features 1,146 Japanese prints, primarily color woodblock prints from the late Edo (1615–1868) and Meiji (1868–1912) periods. It includes examples by ukiyo-e (“floating world”) masters like Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai as well as a substantial body of works in the lesser-known Osaka tradition celebrating the Kabuki theater and views of that city and region of Japan. An accompanying $250,000 endowment will support the cataloguing, preservation, conservation, and storage of the work.
Initial research into the collection will be conducted by Robert Burgos, who has been named the Smart Museum’s Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Curatorial Intern for 2016–2017. Burgos is a PhD candidate in the University of Chicago’s Department of History with an interest in weaving object and material research into historical discussions of identity formation and social consciousness in Japan.
The Mellon Foundation Curatorial Internship began at the Smart in 2009 and is awarded each year to an advanced graduate student at the University of Chicago.