Women Artists, Collectors, Scholars. Contributions of Women to the Art Collection from Japan

Mikolina & Miko, 2008, terracotta, glazed, ca. 38,5 x 14,5 x 15 cm & ca. 36,5 x 18 x 13 cm © Leiko Ikemura and VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2023. Collection of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Humboldt Forum.

Artists: Leiko Ikemura, Morimura Ōkei, Tokuyama Gyokuran, Kayoko Hoshino, Yasuko Sakurai, Naoko Matsubara, Aiko Tezuka

For probably the first time in the history of the Museum of Asian Art, a temporary presentation from collection holdings is devoted to contributions by women to the collection of art from Japan.

Scholars such as Beatrix von Ragué,the museum's first and so far only director from 1966 to 1985, and curators Steffi Schmidt, Setsuko Kuwabara, and Khanh Trinh shaped and developed the holdings, wrote catalogs, and organized exhibitions and events. Rose Hempel, who earned her doctorate in 1944 on a major work in the collection, became the first female research assistant during World War II to break into the museum's male curatorial domain, which had existed since 1906. By donating her collection of paintings from Japan, she enriched the house once again.

But she was by no means the museum's first or only patron. In the first place, the widow of the factory owner Marie Meyer (1834 - 1915) should be mentioned here, who left the museum an initially very extensive collection of art from Japan, which was considerably reduced in 1945 due to displacements caused by the war. She had assembled this collection together with the Freiburg art ethnologist Ernst Grosse (1862 - 1927). Antonie, known as Tony, Straus-Negbaur (1859 - 1942) excelled in the field of woodcuts. From her collection, which was auctioned in Berlin in 1928 and comprised 637 catalog numbers, the National Museums in Berlin acquired a book as well as thirty individual sheets, a dozen of which are shown in the exhibition. Kimono and other garments owned by Magdalene C. Hammonds (1903 - 1995), who trained as a concert pianist, regularly form a highlight of the collection of textiles from Japan, which has not been very extensive.

Many women contributed significantly to the collection expansion as part of collecting couples, such as Yoshie and Klaus F. Naumann, Dr. Anneliese and Dr. Wulf Crueger, Josefina Ogando Rubio and Prof. Dietrich Neumann. But also the contribution of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ostasiatische Kunst (German Society for East Asian Art), led most recently by Mayen Beckmann and currently by Prof. Dr. Jeong-hee Lee-Kalisch, should be gratefully mentioned here. Through them, works by female artists such as Leiko Ikemura or Morimura Ōkei (active around 1831), among others, came to the museum. The exhibition also includes works by painter Tokuyama Gyokuran (1727 - 1784), ceramists Kayoko Hoshino and Yasuko Sakurai, and contemporary artists Naoko Matsubara, and Aiko Tezuka.

A temporary presentation of the Museum of Asian Art of the National Museums in Berlin, on view as part of the permanent exhibition "Ethnological Collections and Asian Art" in the Humboldt Forum in room 318, "Art from Japan".

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Source: Humboldt Forum

Museum für Asiatische Kunst
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Humboldt Forum
10178 Berlin

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